on a Chip

State of
a Living Cell





Cell-free gene expression on a chip

We explore artificial gene expression systems in-vitro that could ultimately mimic nature’s gene networks in controlling biochemical and structural functions. We use cell-free transcription/translation reactions to explore such systems. A surface is a natural  environment for carrying biosynthetic reactions under controlled conditions and we have developed a unique biochip that is based on a new molecule, called ‘Daisy’, which forms a photolitographic monolayer on glass. Using photolithography we can immobilize any bio-molecule on Daisy-coated surfaces with controlled density at sub-micron resolution. Specifically, we have developed a methodology for immobilizing whole genes, thousands of base-pairs long, at local gene density similar to that in a bacterium cell. This DNA/surface interface provides means to investigate gene expression under condition of crowding and confinement. Additionally, we have demonstrated a simple two-stage gene circuit and the integration of such systems in microfluidic devices.