UCSF Investigator Wins NSF Award for Molecular Programming Project

One of UC San Francisco’s newest faculty members is receiving the National Science Foundation’s Expeditions in Computing award as part of a multi-investigator team working to establish solid foundations for molecular programming.

The foundation on Sept. 17 announced awards – each totaling $10 million over five years – for two projects that seek to define the future of computing and information. Since the foundation’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) launched the award in 2008, a total of 16 projects have received funding.

Shawn Douglas, PhD

Shawn Douglas, PhD, an assistant professor in the UCSF Department of Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology, will receive $1 million as part of a project called “Molecular Programming Architectures, Abstractions, Algorithms and Applications” led by Erik Winfree, PhD, of the California Institute of Technology.

The project aims to find a way to systematically program the behaviors of a wide array of complex information-based molecular systems, from decision-making circuitry and molecular-scale manufacturing to biomedical diagnosis and smart therapeutics. The work could lead to real-world applications such as molecular instruments for probing biological systems and programmable fabrication of nanoscale devices.

Read more on the National Science Foundation website.

And watch Douglas discuss his groundbreaking work in the field of bionanotechnology here: