Molecubotics intends to develop a general method for assembling complex nanostructures, using components and methods from biotechnology.
We will develop an extensible set of "molecular building blocks" (MBBs), based mostly on modified biomolecules including proteins and DNA, which have functionalities useful in a variety of products; and a general assembly method (probably controlled by DNA hybridization) which can arrange these MBBs into a wide variety of complex structures.
We believe that there are hundreds of potential product opportunities which are limited mainly by the ability to arrange existing molecules at will, and that many of these can become a profitable application of the assembly technology and MBBs we will develop. A few possible products include: molecular tips for scanning probe microscopes; biosensors; conjugates of protein receptors for use in affinity purification; protein conjugates of well-defined structure for use as therapeutics; optically active materials (containing chromophores in a precise arrangement); scaffolding for molecular memory or computational devices.
After commercialization of initial products, we would encourage third parties to develop new MBBs compatible with our assembly system, and to use our system for their own product designs. We would continuously improve our assembly system to permit more complex structures and a wider variety of MBBs and assembly processes, leading ultimately to an "assembler" capable of general purpose molecular manufacturing.
The following documents describe some aspects of our proposed approach to the development of a useful set of molecular building blocks and a system for assembling them. There are related technologies already developed by others, not described here, which are potentially licensable and which would be useful components of an assembly system of the kind we propose here.
Biotech as the Fastest Pathway to an Assembler explains why methods and materials from biotechnology are likely to enable the fastest progress.
Constructing a Biotech Assembler: Roadmap and Milestone and Assembler Parts Ideas describe the essential design choices faced in the development of any assembler system, and how we plan to address them.
The following older documents describe our first proposed solution to the problem of assembling molecular building blocks, which though no longer our first choice, is still relevant as one of several backup plans we have, as well as for certain applications of an assembler:
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Bruce K. Smith, President & Chief Technology Officer, is the primary inventor of our ideas for implementing an assembler using biotechnology. Presently an independent programmer, from 1989 through 2000 Bruce was a designer/programmer for Wolfram Research, adding major new features to Mathematica (tm) for debugging and local variables, and over a hundred other improvements. He represented Wolfram Research on the WWW Consortium Math Working Group and coauthored the MathML standard for display of mathematical expressions on the World Wide Web. He consulted for Shaman Pharmaceuticals from 1994 to 1996, and worked for the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Foundation from 1982 to 1989. He studied physics at Princeton University from 1980 to 1982, and has placed highly in national and international mathematics competitions, including 2nd place in the USA Math Olympiad (1979).
Markus Krummenacker, Executive Vice President & Senior Scientist. Prior to co-founding Molecubotics, Markus was a Computer Scientist with the Artificial Intelligence Center at SRI International in Menlo Park, where he collaborated on a Bioinformatics project called EcoCyc, a metabolic knowledge-base of the bacterium E.Coli. From 1992 to 1993, has was a Research Associate with the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, working with Dr. Eric Drexler, and co-editing (together with Dr. James Lewis) the Proceedings of the 1992 Foresight Nanotechnology conference. He pursued undergraduate studies in Biochemistry at the University of Zurich, Switzerland from 1986 to 1990 and acquired Biochemistry lab experience as a Visiting Researcher at UC Berkeley from 1990 to 1991.
James B. Lewis, Molecular Biologist & Webmaster, received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard in 1972 for work on RNA biochemistry and structure. From 1988 to 1996 he was a Senior Research Investigator at the Immunodeficiency and Immunosuppression Dept. of Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute. Before that, he worked at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research. Since 1996, he has designed web sites and consulted on technologies leading to molecular manufacturing and nanotechnology. He has authored or co-authored 46 research articles in journals such as Nature, Virology, Biochemistry, and the Journal of Immunotherapy. He co-edited two books on Nanotechnology.
Peter C. McCluskey, Software Engineer. B.S. Biology, Yale 1978. M.S. Computer Science, Brown 1993. Peter has worked on several open source molecular modelling software projects. He did software consulting for Xoom.com in 1998 and 1999. He worked as a software engineer for Quote.com from 1995 through 1997, for The MacGregor Group from 1993 to 1994, and for Unholtz-Dickie Corp. from 1985 to 1992.
The following third-party web sites provide general information about molecular manufacturing. The long-term goal of Molecubotics is to develop assembly technology which leads eventually to general purpose molecular manufacturing.
This page last updated 8 March 2004. The URL of this document is: http://www.molecubotics.com/index.html