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Rigi-Workshop 2011

From biological machines to molecular devices of the future


Rigi Kulm

Biological machines are touted to offer novel technological strategies provided that their mechanisms can be understood and replicated outside the cellular context (see for instance G.M. Whitesides, Sci. Am., 2001). The principles of how molecular motors, biological nanopores, structural elements etc. operate not only provide profound insights into our understanding of cellular function, but can also have a practical impact on molecular device development for applications in health, security and the environment.

Freak Zelle

Organizer: Roderick Lim, University of Basel

The 3-day workshop took place at the Rigi-Kulm Hotel from January 23-25 2011 and brought together PhD students from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Robotics and Nanotechnology. The program was composed of eight talks from specialists in the field. Furthermore, the participants briefly presented their work orally and in detail on a poster. In working groups the students integrated their own knowledge as well as the knowledge collected from the different talks to draw a research project that develops a molecular device. The following issues were subject of the collective brainstorming in the working groups: Which biological machines can we learn from? What applications can molecular devices be used for (e.g. renewable resources)? Can biological machines be interfaced with existing physical systems? How can such bio-synthetic molecular devices be scaled up?

The workshop was successfully closed with the presentations of the research projects developed by the working groups and with awarding the best research project as well as the best poster.

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