Current microprocessor systems are based on semiconductor logic gates, which employ electronic input and output signals and power supplies. Each type of logic gates has a specific input?output signal correlation pattern. Voltages can be simply high or low: digital 1 or 0, respectively. A critical feature, which contributes to the success of modern computers, is input-output signal uniformity: the same voltage value emerging as output of one gate can be admitted as input of another gate. Very large scale integration is a crucial component of modern silicon processors. The development of even more powerful processors depends on continued progress in miniaturizing their components. However, if current trends continue, conventional silicon chips will soon reach their physical limits. By then, their transistors will be so small that current leakage will become an insurmountable problem. It is believed that constructing computers in which computations are performed by individual molecules is the inevitable wave of the future (P. Ball, Nature 2000, 406, 118-120).

The long-term goal of this project is the development of a first DNA-based nanocomputer, a biocompatible and smaller counterpart of the modern silicon-based processor. This project aims at the solution of the two major problems of molecular computation: the universal large scale connectivity of molecular logic gates and precise localization of logic gates in a nanoscale environment. A basic set of connectable DNA logic gates (NOT, AND OR) will be created. The DNA gates will be organized in a network that corresponds to an EX-OR logic function both in solution and on a two-dimensional DNA platform. Accomplishing the project will deliver the first connectable nanoscale logic units, a basis for the future DNA nanoprocessor.

This research will be integrated with education by introducing research topics into undergraduate teaching, students, research training at undergraduate and graduate levels, postdoctoral training.

Project Report

Current microprocessor systems are based on semiconductor logic gates, which employ electronic input and output signals and power supplies. Each type of logic gates has a specific input–output signal correlation pattern. Voltages can be simply high or low: digital 1 or 0, respectively. A critical feature, which contributes to the success of electronic circuits, is input-output signal uniformity: the same voltage value emerging as output of one gate can be admitted as input of another gate. Such connections of logic gates achieve desired functions of varying complexity. Very large scale integration is a crucial component of modern silicon processors. The development of even more powerful processors depends on continued progress in miniaturizing their components. However, if current trends continue, conventional silicon chips will soon reach their physical limits. By then, their transistors will be so small that current leakage will become an insurmountable problem. It is believed that constructing computers in which computations are performed by individual molecules is "the inevitable wave of the future" (P. Ball, Nature 2000, 406, 118-120). Making a computer form biological molecules opens a possibility to control, diagnose and correct malfunctioning of cells and human organs. In project ‘Connectable Nanoscale DNA Logic Gates’ we developed the main principles for the design of new class of molecular logic gates made of DNA. Specifically, our design addresses two major problems of molecular computation: the universal large scale connectivity of molecular logic gates and precise localization of logic gates in a nanoscale environment. A basic set of connectable DNA logic gates (NOT, AND and OR) was created and tested. The DNA gates were organized in a network that corresponds to more complex logic functions both in solution and on a two-dimensional DNA platform. We also demonstrated how the DMNA logic gates can be applied for diagnosis of infectious diseases such drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The results of the project create a basis for the design of a first DNA computer for biomedical applications. Our research was integrated with education by introducing research topics into undergraduate teaching, students’ research training at undergraduate and graduate levels, postdoctoral training. Specifically, one postdoctoral researcher, one PhD candidate, one master student, 9 undergraduate students were trained in biochemistry of DNA and molecular computation. The results of the project were integrated in undergraduate courses of Biochemistry I and II taught for over 1100 undergraduate students in 6 sessions in 2011-2013. Two 3 high school students from local Orlando schools received laboratory training in biochemistry of DNA.

Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-07-01
Budget End
2014-06-30
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$314,799
Indirect Cost
Name
University of Central Florida
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Orlando
State
FL
Country
United States
Zip Code
32816