Biomod/2014/VCCRI/Project/Approach

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<h2>Project Goals</h2>

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Our team had two broad goals when we first came together:<br> <br> <ul> <li><orange>We wanted to learn by building.</orange> Our team aimed to build and characterise a system that exhibited cooperativity between sub-components. This would provide a molecular-scale model allowing us to demonstrate whether or not we actually understand how cooperativity works in nature.</li> <li><orange>We wanted to develop a tangible, real-world application of DNA nanotechnology.</orange> While DNA origami offers the potential for precision engineering on a molecular scale, there have actually been few inventions that exploit this new technology. Our team aimed to provide a proof-of-concept demonstrating that DNA could be used to construct a useful biosensor.</li> </ul> <br> This led us to define the following important milestones in our project:<br> <div class="image-center"> <div style="height:auto;"><img src="http://openwetware.org/images/0/03/2014-EchiDNA-APPROACH-TO-DO-LIST.png" /></div> </div> &nbsp;

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<h2>Feasibility</h2>

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<h3>Organisation</h3> You may think our To-Do-List seems like a lot of work for 5 full-time undergraduate students! And you'd be RIGHT! We made a Gantt chart because we’re hella organised, and actually did a pretty good job of keeping to it! <br><br>

<div class="image-center"> <div style="height:auto;"><img src="http://openwetware.org/images/f/fe/2014-EchiDNA-APPROACH-GANTT-CHART.png" /></div> </div> &nbsp; <br>

<h3>Experimental System</h3> Another key component to the success of our project was the choice to use fluorescence as the output of our experimental design. Many scientific and engineering projects are shaped by the time it takes to get feedback on new hypotheses or designs through experiments and prototypes. This is often the difference between, say, biologists conducting experiments with organisms that take time to cultivate and chemists working with substances that can be combined or manipulated readily. <br><br> We found that our project was feasible within three months essentially because the output of our biosensor is a change in fluorescence. This proved to be a simple, rapid and direct method of determining whether our biosensor was working. At one stage we designed a prototype, ordered the synthetic DNA, and confirmed its basic function within 5 days. In fact, over the course of three months we were able to iterate through <a href="http://openwetware.org/wiki/Biomod/2014/VCCRI/LabBook/Single"> two different designs</a> of the sub-unit of our biosensor due to the quick characterisation of these biosensors in the lab.

<h3>Working environment and knowledge base</h3> Finally, our project was feasible because our team were working in the Molecular Motors Group at the <a href="http://www.victorchang.edu.au/"> Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute</a>. Our team were working alongside people using single-molecule fluorescence, X-ray scattering and bio-layer interferometry to understand the Bacterial Flagella Motor. We readily obtained expert advice from mentors and advisers who were intellectually invested in the success of our team. </div>

<div id="PROJECT-BOTTOM"> </div> <br><br> <a id="next-link" href="http://openwetware.org/wiki/Biomod/2014/VCCRI/Project/Solution">Click here to continue on to our 'Solution' page</a>

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