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Intelligent Input Parser for Organic Chemistry Reagent Questions

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Due to its difficult nature, organic chemistry is receiving much research attention across the nation to develop more efficient and effective means to teach it. As part of that, Dr. Ian Gould at ASU is developing an online organic chemistry

Due to its difficult nature, organic chemistry is receiving much research attention across the nation to develop more efficient and effective means to teach it. As part of that, Dr. Ian Gould at ASU is developing an online organic chemistry educational website that provides help to students, adapts to their responses, and collects data about their performance. This thesis creative project addresses the design and implementation of an input parser for organic chemistry reagent questions, to appear on his website. After students used the form to submit questions throughout the Spring 2013 semester in Dr. Gould's organic chemistry class, the data gathered from their usage was analyzed, and feedback was collected. The feedback obtained from students was positive, and suggested that the input parser accomplished the educational goals that it sought to meet.

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2013-05

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DNA based artificial light-harvesting antenna

Description

Scientists around the world have been striving to develop artificial light-harvesting antenna model systems for energy and other light-driven biochemical applications. Among the various approaches to achieve this goal, one of the most promising is the assembly of structurally well-defined

Scientists around the world have been striving to develop artificial light-harvesting antenna model systems for energy and other light-driven biochemical applications. Among the various approaches to achieve this goal, one of the most promising is the assembly of structurally well-defined artificial light-harvesting antennas based on the principles of structural DNA nanotechnology. DNA has recently emerged as an extremely efficient material to organize molecules such as fluorophores and proteins on the nanoscale. It is desirable to develop a hybrid smart material by combining artificial antenna systems based on DNA with natural reaction center components, so that the material can be engineered to convert light energy to chemical energy via formation of a charge-separated state.

Presented here are a series of studies toward this goal. First, self-assembled seven-helix DNA bundles (7HB) with cyclic arrays of three distinct chromophores were developed. The spectral properties and energy transfer mechanisms in the artificial light-harvesting antenna were studied extensively using steady-state and time-resolved methods. Next, engineered cysteine residues in the reaction center of the purple photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides were each covalently conjugated to fluorophores in order to explore the spectral requirements for energy transfer between an artificial light harvesting system and the reaction center. Finally, a structurally well-defined and spectrally tunable artificial light-harvesting system was constructed, where multiple organic dyes were conjugated to 3-arm DNA nanostructure. A reaction center protein isolated from the purple photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides was linked to one end of the 3-arm junction to serve as the final acceptor, which converts the photonic energy absorbed by the chromophores into chemical energy by charge separation. This type of model system is required to understand how parameters such as geometry, spectral characteristics of the dyes, and conformational flexibility affect energy transfer, and can be used to inform the development of more complex model light-harvesting systems.

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2014

DNA nanotechnology: architechtures [i.e. architectures] designed with DNA

Description

As the genetic information storage vehicle, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecules are essential to all known living organisms and many viruses. It is amazing that such a large amount of information about how life develops can be stored in these tiny

As the genetic information storage vehicle, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecules are essential to all known living organisms and many viruses. It is amazing that such a large amount of information about how life develops can be stored in these tiny molecules. Countless scientists, especially some biologists, are trying to decipher the genetic information stored in these captivating molecules. Meanwhile, another group of researchers, nanotechnologists in particular, have discovered that the unique and concise structural features of DNA together with its information coding ability can be utilized for nano-construction efforts. This idea culminated in the birth of the field of DNA nanotechnology which is the main topic of this dissertation. The ability of rationally designed DNA strands to self-assemble into arbitrary nanostructures without external direction is the basis of this field. A series of novel design principles for DNA nanotechnology are presented here, from topological DNA nanostructures to complex and curved DNA nanostructures, from pure DNA nanostructures to hybrid RNA/DNA nanostructures. As one of the most important and pioneering fields in controlling the assembly of materials (both DNA and other materials) at the nanoscale, DNA nanotechnology is developing at a dramatic speed and as more and more construction approaches are invented, exciting advances will emerge in ways that we may or may not predict.

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2012

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Self-assembly of complex DNA nanostructures and reconfigurable DNA devices

Description

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) has emerged as an excellent molecular building block for nanoconstruction in addition to its biological role of preserving genetic information. Its unique features such as predictable conformation and programmable intra- and inter-molecular Watson-Crick base pairing interactions make

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) has emerged as an excellent molecular building block for nanoconstruction in addition to its biological role of preserving genetic information. Its unique features such as predictable conformation and programmable intra- and inter-molecular Watson-Crick base pairing interactions make it a remarkable engineering material. A variety of convenient design rules and reliable assembly methods have been developed to engineer DNA nanostructures. The ability to create designer DNA architectures with accurate spatial control has allowed researchers to explore novel applications in directed material assembly, structural biology, biocatalysis, DNA

computing, nano-robotics, disease diagnosis, and drug delivery.

This dissertation focuses on developing the structural design rules for "static" DNA nano-architectures with increasing complexity. By using a modular self-assembly method, Archimedean tilings were achieved by association of different DNA motifs with designed arm lengths and inter-tile sticky end interactions. By employing DNA origami method, a new set of design rules was created to allow the scaffolds to travel in arbitrary directions in a designed geometry without local symmetry restrictions. Sophisticated wireframe structures of higher-order complexity were designed and constructed successfully. This dissertation also presents the use of "dynamic" DNA nanotechnology to construct DNA origami nanostructures with programmed reconfigurations.

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Date Created
2015

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DNA directed self-assembly of plasmonic nanoparticles

Description

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a biopolymer well known for its role in preserving genetic information in biology, is now drawing great deal of interest from material scientists. Ease of synthesis, predictable molecular recognition via Watson-Crick base pairing, vast numbers of available

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a biopolymer well known for its role in preserving genetic information in biology, is now drawing great deal of interest from material scientists. Ease of synthesis, predictable molecular recognition via Watson-Crick base pairing, vast numbers of available chemical modifications, and intrinsic nanoscale size makes DNA a suitable material for the construction of a plethora of nanostructures that can be used as scaffold to organize functional molecules with nanometer precision. This dissertation focuses on DNA-directed organization of metallic nanoparticles into well-defined, discrete structures and using them to study photonic interaction between fluorophore and metal particle. Presented here are a series of studies toward this goal. First, a novel and robust strategy of DNA functionalized silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) was developed and DNA functionalized AgNPs were employed for the organization of discrete well-defined dimeric and trimeric structures using a DNA triangular origami scaffold. Assembly of 1:1 silver nanoparticle and gold nanoparticle heterodimer has also been demonstrated using the same approach. Next, the triangular origami structures were used to co-assemble gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and fluorophores to study the distance dependent and nanogap dependencies of the photonic interactions between them. These interactions were found to be consistent with the full electrodynamic simulations. Further, a gold nanorod (AuNR), an anisotropic nanoparticle was assembled into well-defined dimeric structures with predefined inter-rod angles. These dimeric structures exhibited unique optical properties compared to single AuNR that was consistent with the theoretical calculations. Fabrication of otherwise difficult to achieve 1:1 AuNP- AuNR hetero dimer, where the AuNP can be selectively placed at the end-on or side-on positions of anisotropic AuNR has also been shown. Finally, a click chemistry based approach was developed to organize sugar modified DNA on a particular arm of a DNA origami triangle and used them for site-selective immobilization of small AgNPs.

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Date Created
2012

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Programmed DNA self-assembly and logic circuits

Description

DNA is a unique, highly programmable and addressable biomolecule. Due to its reliable and predictable base recognition behavior, uniform structural properties, and extraordinary stability, DNA molecules are desirable substrates for biological computation and nanotechnology. The field of DNA computation has

DNA is a unique, highly programmable and addressable biomolecule. Due to its reliable and predictable base recognition behavior, uniform structural properties, and extraordinary stability, DNA molecules are desirable substrates for biological computation and nanotechnology. The field of DNA computation has gained considerable attention due to the possibility of exploiting the massive parallelism that is inherent in natural systems to solve computational problems. This dissertation focuses on building novel types of computational DNA systems based on both DNA reaction networks and DNA nanotechnology. A series of related research projects are presented here. First, a novel, three-input majority logic gate based on DNA strand displacement reactions was constructed. Here, the three inputs in the majority gate have equal priority, and the output will be true if any two of the inputs are true. We subsequently designed and realized a complex, 5-input majority logic gate. By controlling two of the five inputs, the complex gate is capable of realizing every combination of OR and AND gates of the other 3 inputs. Next, we constructed a half adder, which is a basic arithmetic unit, from DNA strand operated XOR and AND gates. The aim of these two projects was to develop novel types of DNA logic gates to enrich the DNA computation toolbox, and to examine plausible ways to implement large scale DNA logic circuits. The third project utilized a two dimensional DNA origami frame shaped structure with a hollow interior where DNA hybridization seeds were selectively positioned to control the assembly of small DNA tile building blocks. The small DNA tiles were directed to fill the hollow interior of the DNA origami frame, guided through sticky end interactions at prescribed positions. This research shed light on the fundamental behavior of DNA based self-assembling systems, and provided the information necessary to build programmed nanodisplays based on the self-assembly of DNA.

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Date Created
2014

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DNA conjugation and DNA directed self-assembly of quantum dots for nanophotonic applications

Description

Colloidal quantum dots (QDs) or semiconductor nanocrystals are often used to describe 2 to 20 nm solution processed nanoparticles of various semiconductor materials that display quantum confinement effects. Compared to traditional fluorescent organic dyes, QDs provide many advantages. For biological

Colloidal quantum dots (QDs) or semiconductor nanocrystals are often used to describe 2 to 20 nm solution processed nanoparticles of various semiconductor materials that display quantum confinement effects. Compared to traditional fluorescent organic dyes, QDs provide many advantages. For biological applications it is necessary to develop reliable methods to functionalize QDs with hydrophilic biomolecules so that they may maintain their stability and functionality in physiological conditions. DNA, a molecule that encodes genetic information, is arguably the smartest molecule that nature has ever produced and one of the most explored bio-macromolecules. DNA directed self-assembly can potentially organize QDs that are functionalized with DNA with nanometer precision, and the resulting arrangements may facilitate the display of novel optical properties. The goal of this dissertation was to achieve a robust reliable yet simple strategy to link DNA to QDs so that they can be used for DNA directed self assembly by which we can engineer their optical properties. Presented here is a series of studies to achieve this goal. First we demonstrate the aqueous synthesis of colloidal nanocrystal heterostructures consisting of the CdTe core encapsulated by CdS/ZnS or CdSe/ZnS shells using glutathione (GSH), a tripeptide, as the capping ligand. We next employed this shell synthesis strategy to conjugate PS-PO chimeric DNA to QDs at the time of shell synthesis. We synthesized a library of DNA linked QDs emitting from UV to near IR that are very stable in high salt concentrations. These DNA functionalized QDs were further site-specifically organized on DNA origami in desired patterns directed by DNA self-assembly. We further extended our capability to functionalize DNA to real IR emitting CdxPb1-xTe alloyed QDs, and demonstrated their stability by self-assembling them on DNA origami. The photo-physical properties of the QDs were further engineered by attaching a QD and a gold nanoparticle in controlled distances on the same DNA origami, which revealed a much longer range quenching effect than usual Forster Resonance Energy Transfer. We are currently engaged in enhancing photoluminescence intensity of the QDs by bringing them in the plasmonic hot spots generated by cluster of larger plasmonic nanoparticles.

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Date Created
2014

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Thermodynamics and biological applications of DNA nanostructures

Description

DNA nanotechnology is one of the most flourishing interdisciplinary research fields. Through the features of programmability and predictability, DNA nanostructures can be designed to self-assemble into a variety of periodic or aperiodic patterns of different shapes and length scales, and

DNA nanotechnology is one of the most flourishing interdisciplinary research fields. Through the features of programmability and predictability, DNA nanostructures can be designed to self-assemble into a variety of periodic or aperiodic patterns of different shapes and length scales, and more importantly, they can be used as scaffolds for organizing other nanoparticles, proteins and chemical groups. By leveraging these molecules, DNA nanostructures can be used to direct the organization of complex bio-inspired materials that may serve as smart drug delivery systems and in vitro or in vivo bio-molecular computing and diagnostic devices. In this dissertation I describe a systematic study of the thermodynamic properties of complex DNA nanostructures, including 2D and 3D DNA origami, in order to understand their assembly, stability and functionality and inform future design endeavors. It is conceivable that a more thorough understanding of DNA self-assembly can be used to guide the structural design process and optimize the conditions for assembly, manipulation, and functionalization, thus benefiting both upstream design and downstream applications. As a biocompatible nanoscale motif, the successful integration, stabilization and separation of DNA nanostructures from cells/cell lysate suggests its potential to serve as a diagnostic platform at the cellular level. Here, DNA origami was used to capture and identify multiple T cell receptor mRNA species from single cells within a mixed cell population. This demonstrates the potential of DNA nanostructure as an ideal nano scale tool for biological applications.

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Date Created
2014

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Rational Design of Self-Assembling Crystal Scaffolds and DNA-Peptide Hybrid Materials

Description

Since the conception of DNA nanotechnology, the field has evolved towards the development of complex, dynamic 3D structures. The predictability of Watson-Crick base pairing makes DNA an unparalleled building block, and enables exceptional programmability in nanostructure shape and size.

Since the conception of DNA nanotechnology, the field has evolved towards the development of complex, dynamic 3D structures. The predictability of Watson-Crick base pairing makes DNA an unparalleled building block, and enables exceptional programmability in nanostructure shape and size. The work presented in this dissertation focuses on expanding two facets of the field: (1) introducing functionality through the incorporation of peptides to create DNA-peptide hybrid materials, and (2) the development of self-assembling DNA crystal lattices for scaffolding biomolecules. DNA nanostructures have long been proposed as drug delivery vehicles; however, they are not biocompatible because of their low stability in low salt environments and entrapment within the endosome. To address these issues, a functionalized peptide coating was designed to act as a counterion to a six-helix bundle, while simultaneously displaying numerous copies of an endosomal escape peptide to enable cytosolic delivery. This functionalized peptide coating creates a DNA-peptide hybrid material, but does not allow specific positioning or orientation of the peptides. The ability to control those aspects required the synthesis of DNA-peptide or DNA-peptide-DNA conjugates that can be incorporated into the nanostructure. The approach was utilized to produce a synbody where three peptides that bind transferrin with micromolar affinity, which were presented for multivalent binding to optimize affinity. Additionally, two DNA handle was attached to an enzymatically cleavable peptide to link two unique nanostructures. The second DNA handle was also used to constrain the peptide in a cyclic fashion to mimic the cell-adhesive conformations of RGD and PHSRN in fibronectin.
The original goal of DNA nanotechnology was to use a crystalline lattice made of DNA to host proteins for their structural determination using X-ray crystallography. The work presented here takes significant steps towards achieving this goal, including elucidating design rules to control cavity size within the scaffold for accommodating guest molecules of unique sizes, approaches to improve the atomic detail of the scaffold, and strategies to modulate the symmetry of each unique lattice. Finally, this work surveys methodologies towards the incorporation of several guest molecules, with promising preliminary results that constitute a significant advancement towards the ultimate goal of the field.

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2021