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There are many ways to detect viruses, but they rely on detecting small pieces of the virus rather than the whole structure. If we could reliably detect the entire virus rather than just a part, this could be applied to the rapid diagnosis of viral diseases as well as rapid detection of infectious agents in the environment.

Project Overview

The goal of this project is to design and characterize a DNA origami[1] (DO) structure that undergoes significant conformational changes when bound to objects ranging in size from 10-100 nm.

Since binding-specific conformational change can be transduced into a signal, this should enable the design of nanometre-scale sensors for viruses.

In our proof-of-principle approach, the origami structure is a three-pronged DO ‘claw’[2] with sticky-ended DNA strands complementary to the surface of a modified[3] bacteriophage MS2 capsid substrate.

To characterize the conformational changes and binding interactions of this system, we will use four primary methods:

Near-Term Goals

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