Papers of the Week 29th January 2018

Welcome to our pick of papers and articles from last week. These are a collection of the synthetic biology papers that have captured our attention and that we think you should know about. Maybe you’ve seen some others you’d like to tell us about. Send us a comment or tweet us at @synbiobydesign. See last week’s papers here.

DNA-assisted Lithography

DNA-assisted lithography (DALI) combines the programmable construction of DNA origami with conventional lithography to create metallic nano-structures. The authors claim that high-throughput of this technique is possible and due to the use of DNA origami, high complexity designs can be actualised without great difficulty. Maybe a synbio technique for the further miniaturisation of technology?

http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/2/eaap8978.full

Airborne microfluidics create 3D biomaterials

Microfluidics typically involves a chip with small channels for fluids to flow through, however, this paper presents “in-air microfluidics” which replaces the channels for micrometer-sized liquid jets. The technique (pictured below) allows creation of modular 3D constructs from the droplets, particles or fibres produced. This technique could be used for making gels and other biomaterials in a modular fashion.

http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/1/eaao1175.full

In-air microfluidics uses droplets rather than channels. From: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/1/eaao1175.full

Soft-bodied robot with multi-modal movement

Following from our article on soft robotics as the future, this paper presents a soft-bodied robot with an impressive range of motion across multiple terrains. Although the robots surfaces are currently hydrophobic, the authors are confident that a biocompatible version can be achieved for functions such as drug release within the body.

https://www.nature.com/articles/nature25443

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