William is overseeing an effort to apply Synthetic Biology approaches to the development of self-assembling DNA nanostructures and devices for use in biomedical applications. In addition to carrying genetic information, DNA is increasingly being explored for its use as a building material. This new process is called DNA origami because a long strand of DNA can be programmed to fold in on itself to create specific shapes, much as a single sheet of paper is folded to create a variety of designs in the traditional Japanese art...
William Shih, Harvard Professor, is developing massive DNA origami structures. DNA origami refers to the practice of constructing physical structures out of DNA, typically using bundles of DNA bonded together to form a strong physical structure that can be used as rods. Will’s group is building self-assembling fabric structures, larger than 2 micrometers, from DNA origami which have fully addressable surfaces. Essentially, he can attach unique molecules to the surface to change the color or chemistry of the fabrics. These fabrics have the potential to be readable/writable nanoscale surfaces.