Tao Ye Research Group
The Tao Ye group is focused on the interface between DNAs and materials. Surfaces/materials functionalized with DNA are key to a wide spectrum of biotechnological devices such as biosensors and microarrays. Functionalizing the nanostructures with DNA is among the most powerful means of organizing these nanostructures into designer materials with new properties. However, many basic questions concerning the properties and reactivity of DNA at interfaces remain unanswered. Here are some of the questions we seek to address:
What are the conformations and spatial arrangement of DNA molecules when they are anchored to a material?
How does the environment of the surface influence the ability of DNAs to interact and recognize other molecules, such as biomarkers?
How do we develop simper and more reliable attachment chemistry to functionalize a variety of materials?
Can DNA molecules at the solid-liquid interface programmably assemble in a manner analogous to DNA self-assembly in solution?
Understanding and controlling the interface between dynamic and soft DNA molecules and much more rigid materials poses unique technical and intellectual challenges. We are deploying a variety of techniques in biochemistry, biophysics, surface chemistry and materials science to probe these complex biointerfaces. Among those are atomic force microscopy based techniques to study the properties of DNA molecules at the single molecule level. We are also collaborating with those working on modeling and simulations to develop new models to describe and predict the properties. Moreover, we are using the knowledge to develop novel materials and biosensors.