Nanopore Sensing

We are exploring new and non-traditional ways to use commercial nanopore sensor arrays for bespoke molecular sensing, synthetic biology and proteomics.

Porcupine: Rapid and robust tagging of physical objects using nanopore-orthogonal DNA strands Molecular tagging is an approach to labeling physical objects using DNA or other molecules that can be used in cases where methods like RFID tags and QR codes are not suitable. No molecular tagging method exists that is inexpensive, fast and reliable to decode, and usable outside a lab setting to create or read tags. To address this, we present Porcupine, an end-user molecular tagging system that features DNA-based tags readable within seconds using a portable nanopore device. Porcupine’s digital bits are represented by the presence or absence of distinct, nanopore-orthogonal DNA strands, which we call molecular bits (molbits). We classify molbits directly from the raw nanopore signal, avoiding basecalling. To extend the tag’s shelf life, decrease readout time, and make tags robust to environmental contamination, molbits are prepared for readout during tag assembly and can be stabilized by dehydration. The result is an extensible, real time, high accuracy tagging system that includes a novel approach to developing nanopore-orthogonal barcodes.

NanoporeTERs: Nanopore-addressable protein Tags Engineered as Reporters Genetically encoded reporter proteins are a cornerstone of molecular biology. While they are widely used to measure many biological activities, the current number of uniquely addressable reporters that can be used together for one-pot multiplexed tracking is small due to overlapping detection channels such as fluorescence. To address this, we built an expanded library of orthogonally-barcoded Nanopore-addressable protein Tags Engineered as Reporters (NanoporeTERs), which can be read and demuxed by nanopore sensors at the single-molecule level. By adapting a commercially available nanopore sensor array platform typically used for real-time DNA and RNA sequencing (Oxford Nanopore Technologies’ MinION), we show direct detection of NanoporeTER expression levels from unprocessed bacterial culture with no specialized sample preparation. These results lay the foundations for a new class of reporter proteins to enable multiplexed, real-time tracking of gene expression with nascent nanopore sensor technology.

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Nick Cardozo
Nick Cardozo
Aerilynn Nguyen
Aerilynn Nguyen
Karin Strauss
Researcher, MSR
Affiliate Professor
Luis Ceze
Professor