Current Research

Selective modifications via 3D DNA nanostructures

The selective modification of complex organic molecules is a long-standing challenge. Several synthetic and enzymatic catalytic techniques have been developed, but they are limited. Natural enzymes surround molecules in 3D active sites, but they are limited to natural amino acids and co-factors, so they cannot do as many reactions as synthetic catalysts. Synthetic catalysts offer new modes of reactivity, but they struggle with the selective modification of large molecules. I will combine the benefits of these two classes of catalysts into hybrid structures. I will attach abiotic catalysts to specific sites on 3D DNA nanostructures. Through noncovalent interactions with the substrate, the DNA scaffold will enable selective reactivity that could not be achieved by the abiotic catalysts on their own.