"Everything in biology is mechanical." – Julio Fernandez
The overarching research objective of the BIONICS LAB is to uncover the fundamental physical forces that govern how cells generate, detect, and respond to mechanical forces at the molecular level. We have developed a set of DNA nanotechnology, super-resolution microscopy, biophysics, protein engineering and molecular analytic tools that empower us to achieve our goals.
"What I cannot create, I do not understand." – Richard Feynman
Our lab is using DNA nanostructures to reconstruct mechanically-functional biomolecular systems while capturing their spatial and mechanical contexts.
These biologically, spatially, and mechanically-relevant reconstituted systems are amenable to mathematically-rigorous, physically-sound, and highly-predictive modeling.
The Mechanobiology of Malaria Parasite Invasion
The initial theme of our lab will focus on the mechanical interactions that power and guide malaria parasite invasion. Malaria, an infectious disease caused by deadly Plasmodium parasites, is a global health concern. In 2013, malaria was responsible for ~200 million cases and claimed >500,000 lives, which is equivalent to ~1 death per minute.
Low-Cost Single Molecule Nanoarray for Democratizing Digital Diagnostics
Finally, our lab will put this knowledge to work. From the biomedical translational standpoint, we will also develop lithography-free cm-scale DNA origami nanoarrays for high-throughput single-molecule biophysics and low-cost digital diagnostics that target minuscule concentrations of biomarkers.
Rapid agnostic platform to limit viral infection
Viral infectious diseases have plagued human history and they continue to pose as a major threat to global health and economy. Our vision is to develop a novel anti-viral platform that can rapidly neutralize viral infections by limiting viral diffusion. By interfacing DNA nanotechnology and peptide engineering, we want to construct modular molecular scaffolds that incorporates attractive features like multivalency and superior specificity in targeting viral particles. The ultimate goal of this work is to transition this platform for therapeutical application.
The origins of life
"All of us who study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we feel it is too complex to have evolved anywhere." – Harold Urey
The most fundamental principle of the living system could have been concealed within the secret recipe to initiate life itself. Our lab combines various branches of science from organic chemistry, fluid mechanics, into geophysics and astrophysics to develop and test a protocell model that emerged from hydrodynamic forces acting on oil slicks trapped by an ancient ocean gyre. The oil slicks are light and water-insoluble organic materials made out of micrometeorite kerogen.
RIZAL F HARIADI, ERIK WINFREE, AND BERNARD YURKE
"And so he looked at a tiny bubble
bursting on the surface of an infinite ocean.
Within it, molecules, their world torn asunder.
And in that vigor,
and in that endless churning,
the origin of life.
We followed him deep into this vision."
– Erik Winfree
RIZAL F HARIADI, RF SOMMESE, AS ADHIKARI, RE TAYLOR, S SUTTON, JA SPUDICH, ANAD S SIVARAMAKRISHNAN
YEE H TEE, TOM SHEMESH, VISALATCHI THIAGARAJAN, RIZAL F HARIADI, KAREN L ANDERSON, CHRISTOPHER PAGE, NIELS VOLKMANN, DORIT HANEIN, SIVARAJ SIVARAMAKRISHNAN, MICHAEL M KOZLOV, AND ALEXANDER D BERSHADSKY
Band of Super Heroes
These people (minus Rizal) are the real super heroes of the lab.
(co-advised with Hao Yan)
ASU – Chemistry
Swechchha "Sway" Pradhan
ASU – Biological Design
Gde Bimananda Mahardika Wisna
ASU – Physics
Incoming graduate student
B.Sc – Surya University
ASU – Physics
2020 Goldwater Scholar
Sritharini "Esha" Radhakrishnan
Remote Undergraduate Researcher
ASU – Biology & Math
ASU – Biochemistry
ASU – Physics
Honorary lab member
2020 & 2017 Victorinox
Boise State University
formerly at University of Michigan
"Come as trainees, leave as friends...
Visiting postdocs, summer undergraduate researchers, postbacs (last sighted)
High school student