The Molecular Programming Society

We are the Molecular Programming Society, an international grassroots team of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs, who are programming the behavior of physical matter.

We build liquid computers that run on chemistry, instead of electricity. Using these chemical computers, we program non-biological matter to grow, heal, adapt, communicate with the surrounding environment, replicate, and disassemble.

The same switches that make up your laptops and cell phones can be implemented as chemical reactions [1]. In electronics, information is encoded as high or low voltages of electricity. In our chemical computers, information is encoded as high or low concentrations of molecules (DNA, RNA, proteins, and other chemicals). By designing how these components bind to each other, we can program molecules to calculate square roots [2], implement neural networks that recognize human handwriting [3], and play a game of tic-tac-toe [4]. Chemical computers are slow, expensive, error prone, and take incredible effort to program… but they have one key advantage that makes them particularly exciting:

The outputs of chemical computers are molecules, which can directly bind to and rearrange physical matter.

Broad libraries of interfaces exist [5] that allow chemical computers to control the growth and reconfiguration of nanostructures, actuate soft robotics up to the centimeter scale, regulate drug release, grow metal wires, and direct tissue growth. Similar interfaces allow chemical computers to sense environmental stimuli as inputs, including chemical concentrations, pressure, light, heat, and electrical signals.

In the near future, chemical computers will enable humans to control matter through programming languages, instead of top-down brute force. Intelligent medicines will monitor the human body for disease markers and deliver custom therapeutics on demand. DNA-based computers will archive the internet for ultra-long term storage. In the more distant future, we can imagine programming airplane wings to detect and heal damage, cellphones to rearrange and update their hardware at the push of a button, and skyscrapers that grow up from seeds planted in the earth.

Currently our society is drafting a textbook called The Art of Molecular Programming, which will elucidate the principles of molecular programming and hopefully inspire more people (you!) to help us spark this second computer revolution.

Our grassroots team includes members who work at Aalto University, Brown, Cambridge, Caltech, Columbia, Harvard, Nanovery, NIST, National Taiwan University, Newcastle University, North Carolina A&T State University, Technical University of Munich, University of Malta, University of Edinburgh, UCLA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, UT Austin, University of Vienna, and University of Washington. Collectively, our society members have published over 900 peer-reviewed papers on topics related to molecular programming.

  1. [1]Seelig, Georg, et al. "Enzyme-free nucleic acid logic circuits." science 314.5805 (2006): 1585-1588.
  2. [2]Qian, Lulu, and Erik Winfree. "Scaling up digital circuit computation with DNA strand displacement cascades." Science 332.6034 (2011): 1196-1201.
  3. [3]Cherry, Kevin M., and Lulu Qian. "Scaling up molecular pattern recognition with DNA-based winner-take-all neural networks." Nature 559.7714 (2018): 370-376.
  4. [4]Stojanovic, Milan N., and Darko Stefanovic. "A deoxyribozyme-based molecular automaton." Nature biotechnology 21.9 (2003): 1069-1074.
  5. [5]Scalise, Dominic, and Rebecca Schulman. "Controlling matter at the molecular scale with DNA circuits." Annual review of biomedical engineering 21 (2019): 469-493.
  6. [*]...and hundreds more!

The Art of Molecular Programming

A grassroots textbook initative.

The principles of molecular programming are currently scattered across thousands of papers, which presents a barrier for new researchers entering the field. The Art of Molecular Programming is a grassroots community initiative to collect these principles in one location, providing tutorial lessons to guide students’ learning, and presenting a collective vision on where the field is heading.

~ contact us at <hello AT this domain> ~

Executive Board

  • Anastasia Ershova
    Graphics Lead
  • Dominic Scalise
    Executive Editor
  • Elisa Franco
    Faculty Advisor Lead
  • Georgeos Hardo
    Social Media Lead
  • Jacob Majikes
    Problem Set Lead
  • Namita Sarraf
    Executive Editor
  • William Earley
    Infrastructure Lead
  • William Poole
    Theory Lead

Editorial Board 1.

Structures & Molecular Self-Assembly

  • Ibon Santiago
  • Ismael Mullor Ruiz
  • Jonathan List
  • Pierre-Étienne Meunier
  • Shelley Wickham
  • Stefan Badelt

Editorial Board 2.

Circuits & Information Processing

  • Boya Wang
  • Brenda Rubenstein
  • Ho-Lin Chen
  • Josie Kishi
  • Sam Davidson
  • Sifang Chen

Editorial Board 3.

Interfaces & Future Directions

  • Georgeos Hardo
  • Jaeseung Hahn
  • Jurek Kozyra
  • Lee Organick
  • Matthew Aquilina
  • Veikko Linko

Content Specialists

  • Ben Foulon
    Small Molecules Editor
  • Erika Alden DeBenedictis
    Protein Editor
  • Jaimie Marie Stewart
    RNA Editor

Authors

  • Brenda Rubenstein
  • Elisa Franco
  • Kyle Tomek
  • Leopold Green
  • Sarah Goldberg
  • Sayed Ahmad Salehi
  • William Earley
  • William Poole

Faculty Advisory Board

  • Aleksei Aksimentiev
  • Andrew Phillips
  • Andrew Turberfield
  • Anne Condon
  • Anthony Genot
  • Arvind Murugan
  • Brenda Rubenstein
  • Carlos Castro
  • Chris Thachuk
  • Christoph Flamm
  • Chunhai Fan
  • Damien Woods
  • Dave Doty
  • David Soloveichik
  • Dhiraj Bhatia
  • Elisa Franco
  • Eyal Nir
  • Fritz Simmel
  • Georg Seelig
  • Gos Micklem
  • Harold Fellerman
  • Ho-Lin Chen
  • Ian Torao Hoffecker
  • Jaimie Stewart
  • Jongmin Kim
  • Karin Strauss
  • Kate Adamala
  • Lennart Hilbert
  • Leo Green
  • Lulu Qian
  • Masahiro Takinoue
  • Ned Seeman
  • Paul Rothemund
  • Pekka Orponen
  • Philip Lukeman
  • Rebecca Schulman
  • Reza Zedegan
  • Satoshi Kobayashi
  • Sayed Ahmad Salehi
  • Shelley Wickham
  • Stacy Copp
  • Thom LaBean
  • Tom Ouldridge
  • Veikko Linko
  • William Shih
  • Yannick Rondelez
  • Yoel Ohayon

Check out our sister project!

molpigs, the Molecular Programming Interest Group, is a group aimed at PhD students and early career researchers within the fields of Molecular Programming, DNA Computing, and other related specialties. We currently host a podcast discussing research and experiences from people across our fields!