• Name: Peter Allen, Ph.D.
  • Institution: University of Idaho
  • Department: Chemistry
  • Phone: 208-885-5807
  • Email: pballen@uidaho.edu

Summary: The Allen lab is designing DNA to detect biological molecules at low concentrations. The DNA we work with is not genetic material. We use DNA as a nanomaterial to design and evolve the behavior we need. Projects in the lab include evolving DNA molecules that can then bind to proteins we want to detect. Other projects include designing DNA reactions that emit light. We will create sensors with the ultimate purpose of measuring intercellular biochemical communication.

Minimum Classes: Introductory chemistry, biology, and programming would all be useful.

Projects: We currently have an open project for undergrads using computer-aided design to invent DNA sequences that will transition between a dark state and bright, visible response. We can try to trigger those reactions with an input like a diagnostically useful biochemical.


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