Prof. Matthew Lakin at the Wilson Lecture Series

Engineering molecules and cells for programmable biology

Programming the biological world is an important grand challenge for science and engineering. The fields of molecular computing and synthetic biology address this challenge by implementing computational functions using engineered biomolecules and engineered cells, respectively. The long-term goal of my research is to enable programmable control of biomolecular computing systems for use in practical applications for which micro-processors cannot be used, in particular, for biomedical diagnostics within living cells. This talk will outline three strands of research ongoing in my group: on computational tools and languages for biodesign, on DNA nanotechnology and molecular programming, and on synthetic biology and synthetic cells. The common thread tying these research directions together is the application of concepts and tools from computer science to experimental bioengineering.

About the speaker

Matthew Lakin is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of New Mexico. He is also affiliated with the UNM Center for Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering. Lakin obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge and was subsequently a postdoc at Microsoft Research. His work integrates computational and experimental work in DNA nanotechnology and synthetic biology to program biomolecular assemblies, cells, and synthetic cell-like systems. His long-term research goal is to apply biomolecular computing systems to address important societal challenges, with a particular focus on applications where regular computing devices cannot be deployed, such as the autonomous diagnosis and treatment of disease in living cells. Lakin received the NSF CAREER award in 2021.


Start date
Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, 4 p.m.
End date
Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, 5 p.m.