I have never been thought before that I will attend this kind of class. Very futuristic and unimaginable lesson. What the lecturer say is about the combination of the two main technology that is biotechnology and nanotechnology. Sometimes during the class I just can’t stop thinking (with absolutely imaginative mind!) how could that stuff be real??
Anyway, today is the last lecture, and the lecturer tell us about the future of bionanotechnology. I think this is the peak of several lesson before, that explain us about the DNA origami (This is the first time I heard that we can make origami from DNA!), DNA combining semiconductor, Nanorobot for medical therapy, gene therapy, gecko’s feet for everlasting glue tape, etc. Very interesting I think. And the nice one is : the lecturer isn’t a Japanese, so he can speak in English very very very well.. hehe
Here are some nanotechnology from nature: The idea is mimicking the nature.
The Gecko and Its Feet. Gecko has feet that covered by 500.000 setae/ foot, and each setae contain 100-1000 spatula in nanostructure. The structure can make gecko attach the wall tightly using van der waals interaction and capillary forces. So that, in theory, a single gecko can support more than 2 Kg weight hanging despite gecko have only 40g in weight. That’s why then people mimicking the feet nanostructure to make a everlasting glue tape. A glue tape that no need a glue anymore because of van der waals interaction and capillary forces. And the tape can be used over and over.
Spider Silk. Did you know that spider silk is very tough and much lighter than steel?! That nanostructure make it have extra properties in toughness, strength, and flexibility. So that people trying to mimic it to make a high quality surgical thread.
Lotus Effect. The nanostructure of lotus make it hydrophobic and let water on it always fall down and never make it wet. The always-falling-down water make the leaves always clean. That is because the lotus leaves have wax hydrophobic crystal around 1 nm in diameter. Then, what people mimic from the lotus is to make a wall paint that can wash its self when the rain come.
Then,let’s go to biotechnology inside! what the scientist still researching and developing about is to make the bionanotechnology stuff that have a nanostructure such as biomolecular stuff and combine it with other nanostructure. These are the bionanotechnology amazing stuff:
Protein Sphere and Ring. The protein can be the virus capsids, and the capsid can be used to be a good space for drugs and then make the virus as drug delivery sytem (and it is also used for gene therapy). Beside that, the virus capsids can also provide space for biomineralizing metals or semiconductor then can be a nanoelectric stuff.
TRAP Protein. TRAP is a nanostructure that contain an amino acid Trp (Tryptophan) and mRNA. TRAP naturally is used as a regulator in Trp gene expression in regulating mRNA transcription. But it can also used as array if the hole inside the TRAP filled by semiconductor and conductor. Then the array is used for an electric or computer stuff.
DNA as Bionanotechnology. Don’t we realize that DNA is nanostructure too. Then it can be engineered become a DNA Origami, for example as a box shape DNA origami. The box can be opened and closed by adding some peptide to control it. Then the box can be used as nanomachine contain medicine that only can open at the right target, some kind of drug delivery system. Beside that, DNA is a nanostructure that have a exact sequence and it can be read exactly by ribosom. It is like a pattern in a computer chips. So that, researcher make a DNA computer (but I didn’t really know for detail).
Then from that basic step, the future that bionanotechnology researcher dreaming about is there are a new superstrong and tough clothes and material inspired by spider silk, Superfast computer using optical fibers, protein, and DNA-template microchips and nanoware, Smart drugs that can target the right receptor specifically, and also a linking together of human and computer (for example a telepathy or kind of communication by nanotools that hybrid in human nerve cells).
Reference from Bionanotechnology Class, Tokyo Tech. Thank you Mr Jonathan Heddie as my lecturer.