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Itamar Willner

15 June 2011
IOCB Prague
Prof. Itamar Willner (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
Biomolecular Nanostructures for Sensing, Machinery and Nanocircuitry


The synthesis of biomolecule/nanoparticle (or carbon nanotubes) hybrid systems or the self-assembly of biomolecular nano-structures provide materials of new emerging functionalities and properties. The development in the area of nanobiotechnology will be discussed by addressing the following topics: (i) Electrical contacting of redox enzymes with electrodes by means of metallic nanoparticles (NPs) or carbon nanotubes.1 (ii) The use of semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) for molecular and biomolecular sensing.2 (iii) The use of the information encoded in nucleic acid structures to self-assemble into functional nanostructures. This will be exemplified with self-organized DNA nanostructures acting as machines (tweezers, walkers, steppers)3, the self-assembly of nucleic acids into nanotubes, the programmed positioning of proteins on DNA nanostructures for the activation of enzyme cascades,4 and the use of biomolecular templates for growing nanocircuitry. (iv) The tailoring of DNA replication machines for amplified sensing and potential PCR alternatives.5


  1. (a) Y. Xiao, F. Patolsky, E. Katz, J.F. Hainfeld, I. Willner, Science 2003, 299, 1877-1881; (b) F. Patolsky, Y. Weizmann and I. Willner, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2004, 43, 2113-2117.
  2. R. Gill, M. Zayats, I. Willner, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 7602-7625. 
  3. (a) J. Elbaz, M. Moshe, I. Willner, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2009, 48, 3834-3837; (b) J. Elbaz, Z.-G. Wang, R. Orbach, I. Willner, Nano Lett. 2009, 9, 4510-4514. 
  4. O.I. Wilner, Y. Weizmann, R. Gill, O. Lioubashevski, R. Freeman, I. Willner, Nature Nanotechnol. 2009, 4, 249-254.  
  5. Y. Weizmann, M. Beissenhirtz, Z. Cheglakov, R. Nowarski, M. Kotler, I. Willner, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 7384-7388. 
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