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The molpigs Podcast

Science Podcasts

Welcome to molpigs, the Molecular Programming Interest Group! molpigs is a group aimed at PhD students and early career researchers within the fields of Molecular Programming, DNA Computing, and other related specialties. We run most of our events in the form of podcasts, which you can find right here!

Welcome to molpigs, the Molecular Programming Interest Group! molpigs is a group aimed at PhD students and early career researchers within the fields of Molecular Programming, DNA Computing, and other related specialties. We run most of our events in the form of podcasts, which you can find right here!


United States


Welcome to molpigs, the Molecular Programming Interest Group! molpigs is a group aimed at PhD students and early career researchers within the fields of Molecular Programming, DNA Computing, and other related specialties. We run most of our events in the form of podcasts, which you can find right here!




Grigory Tikhomirov

In this episode the molpigs team talks with Greg Tikhomirov about his experience starting a new molecular programming lab and his visions for “a new nanotechnology”. We learn about his journey from wanting to build large, beautiful molecules to his work at the interface between molecular design and material science. Greg Tikhomirov is an assistant professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, with a background in chemistry, bioengineering, medicine, and nanotechnology. He has a...


Eva Bertosin: A DNA rotary mechanism with coordinated mobility control

Join the molpigs team for a conversation with Eva Bertosin about her work on building nanoscale rotors during her PhD with Hendrik Dietz. This is a "poster podcast," so we will occasionally be referencing figures in the associated poster which can be found at the link below. The DNA origami rotor was inspired by the rotational mechanism of ATP synthase, which Eva and her colleagues had to simplify and abstract to create a functional DNA structure which could demonstrate rotational diffusion....


Anne Condon

Join the molpigs team as they have a discussion with one of the theoretical giants of molecular programming: Anne Condon. Over the wide-ranging conversation, she shares her insights on NP-complete problems, solving RNA folding with good data, and how best to teach and mentor students in a manner that creates great researchers and facilitates diversity in the field. Anne Condon is a professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia, of which she was formerly head of...


Jurek Kozyra

On this episode Hannah, Boya, Erik and new co-host Dhaval sit down with Jurek Kozyra, founder of the molecular programming startup, Nanovery. Over the course of this wide-ranging interview, he tells us about how learning biology can help your dating life, his PhD work at the intersection of biotech and computer science and his early ventures in cherry picking and private investigation before diving into his story of building a successful startup with funders, employees, and lab space. Jurek...


Sam Schaffter

Join us for a chat with Sam Schaffter, a postdoc at NIST working on realizing complex transcription-based strand displacement in living systems. We start the conversation with the story of how he made the transition from the molecular biology of food to molecular programming. We then move on to the details of his research on transcriptional circuits including where the idea came from and the trials of taking molecular computing from the test tube to cell systems. He tells us about the...


Sifang Chen

Join us for a relaxed chat with Sifang Chen, a science policy post-doc, for a slightly different discussion. We speak about Sifang’s past, how she got into DNA nanotech and molecular programming, her research on biosensors and DNA programmable materials, and how she switched to this field from quantum and graphene based devices. We then moved on to talking about science in a broader scope, starting off with the big question of how Synthetic Biology and related fields will help in the fight...


Damien Woods

Today we’re talking with Damien Woods, a professor and molecular programmer at the Hamilton Institute, Maynooth University, Ireland. We first began by talking about how his early interests in dynamics and optical computers (the subject of his PhD thesis) led him to the field of molecular programming. We then move on to talking about one of Damien’s well known papers, Diverse and robust molecular algorithms using reprogrammable DNA self-assembly. In this paper, Damien describes the...


Dave Doty

In our latest Meet The Molecular Programmer, our guest was David Doty. We dove right in to the way he splits his research time, which has been between software development, theory, and sometimes experiments! He talks about how his experience doing his first experiment made him realise the need for good software, as good software enables good experiments. We then moved on to discussing what “nice” theory is. Doty explains how typically people seek to publish the most elegant, and often...


William Poole

This week we spoke with William Poole, a graduate student at Caltech working on quite a few topics! His research spans synthetic/systems biology to molecular programming, software development to chemical reaction network (CRN) theory, machine learning to cell free systems. We certainly had a lot to talk about! We started off by discussing BioCRNPyler, a library which Will has been working on that allows for the rapid development and compilation of complex CRNs. He describes how BioCRNPyler...


Anastasia, Boya, Georgeos, Hannah: Meet the Committee

Join us in this experimental episode as our conversation turns inwards! Instead of finding out about the life and interests of someone from the field, we share some of our own views and anecdotes. We discuss a little about who we are, graduate school, the definition of the field, and more. Hannah, the founder of molpigs, gives a bit of an insight into what the motivation for starting molpigs was and what they hope this project will achieve. Boya, our newsletter editor, explains how learning...


Lee Organick

Today we are joined by Lee Organick, a PhD student in the Molecular Information Systems Lab (MISL) at the University of Washington. Lee is a biologist turned computer scientist and engineer, quite a unique transition! She explains how she was “forced” to take a computer science class in her undergrad, which opened up a completely new field of interests. After this, she started incorporating more programming into her research, and as such slowly moved into more computational fields. This is...


Kent Kemmish

Join us this week for an extremely interesting conversation with Kent Kemmish, the founder and chief exorcist (yes, exorcist) officer of Molecular Reality, and the creator of the new, and world’s first “molecular” games console, the demonpore 64. This is our first podcast with a member of the molecular programming community who works in industry, and in the startup sector. At its heart, Kent’s demonpore 64 is a device which utilises solid state nanopores in order to sense its environment at...


Namita Sarraf

What do ant colonies have to do with molecular programming? In this podcast, we spoke with Namita Sarraf, a graduate student at Caltech in Lulu Qian’s group. We discuss her research, which revolves around the production of multifunctional and modular DNA robots. Namita takes inspiration from ant colony dynamics to design robots, which alone may exhibit simple behaviour, but show emergent complexity when put together. By having these robots pattern the surface, ant pheromones can be...


Kate Adamala

Kate Adamala is a biochemist building synthetic cells at the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences. Her research aims at understanding chemical principles of biology, using artificial cells to create new tools for bioengineering, drug development, and basic research. The interests of her lab span questions from the origin and earliest evolution of life, using synthetic biology to colonize space, to the future of biotechnology and medicine. She received a MSc in chemistry...


Erik Poppleton

In the third episode of our ‘Lab Pigs’ series, which highlights the research and journeys of early career researchers in our field, we talked with Erik Poppleton, of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. Erik researches the use of computational modeling in informing the design of molecular machines. As part of this, he also develops general-use analysis tools for oxDNA, and conversion tools to integrate the various design and simulation tools in the nucleic acid nanotechnology...


Yuan-Jyue Chen: Random Access and Similarity Search in DNA Data Storage

In this episode we talked with Yuan-Jyue Chen, of Microsoft Research and the University of Washington, on some of his research into DNA Data Storage. Yuan focussed on two topics: random access of data, and the accompanying issues with stochasticity and errors, and an application of DNA storage for efficiently searching a large database of images by similarity. Please note: The views expressed by Yuan in this podcast do not necessarily represent the views of Microsoft. --- Find more...


Josie Kishi

In the second episode of our 'Lab Pigs' series, which highlights the research and journeys of early career researchers in our field, we talked with Josie Kishi. Josie was instrumental in developing the Primer Exchange Reaction (PER) synthesis method and the related imaging method, SABER. As well as talking about these, we found out what excites her about molecular programming, how she got into the field, and where she things it's going to go. --- Find more information at the episode page...


Tom Ouldridge: Molecular Programming and the Physics of Computation

Join us this week for a long and interesting conversation with Tom Ouldridge of Imperial College London on Maxwell’s demon, Szilard’s engine, what people get wrong about thermodynamics and information theory, how this all relates to biology, and how his lab is using these ideas to develop exciting new approaches to molecular programming. Tom Ouldridge is a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Bioengineering Department, where he leads the “Principles of Biomolecular Systems”...


Dominic Scalise

Join us for the first of our ‘Lab Pigs’ series, in which we talk with early career researchers on their research and journey within our field. In this episode, we chatted with Dominic Scalise. We talked a lot with Dominic about his work towards building a stored program chemical computer. Dominic Scalise is a postdoctoral scholar in Lulu Qian’s lab at Caltech. He earned his PhD in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Johns Hopkins, advised by Rebecca Schulman, and his B.S. in...


Q&A with Brenda Rubenstein, on Storage and Computing with Small Molecules

Following on from Brenda's fantastic tutorial, we chatted with her to get answers to many questions, find out more about her lab's work, and get her thoughts on the future direction of this approach! --- Find more information at the episode page here: