Course Coordinator: 
Yohei Yokobayashi
Nucleic Acid Chemistry and Engineering

In this course, students will learn basic principles of nucleic acid chemistry and engineering through lectures and discussions. The students will then use the basic knowledge to deepen their understanding of the current research in the field of nucleic acid chemistry and engineering. Emphasis will be placed on reviewing current and future applications of nucleic acids in diverse fields including chemistry, biology, materials, medicine, biosensors, and engineering. Finally, the students will design, construct, and characterize functional nucleic acids in the laboratory while learning basic experimental skills to manipulate nucleic acids.

This course introduces the basic principles and current research in nucleic acid chemistry and engineering through lectures, discussions and laboratory sessions.
Course Content: 

Basic nucleic acid chemistry (3 hr)

  1. ​Structure (DNA, RNA, unnatural nucleic acids, secondary/tertiary structures)
  2. Thermodynamics (hybridization)​

Synthesis of nucleic acids (4.5 hr)​​

  1. Chemical synthesis (solid phase synthesis)
  2. Biochemical synthesis (PCR, in vitro transcription, gene synthesis, biological synthesis, etc.)

Analysis of nucleic acids (4.5 hr)

  1. Chemical analysis (UV, electrophoresis, CD, nuclease probing, SHAPE, etc.)
  2. Sequence analysis (Sanger, Illumina, PacBio, nanopore, etc.)

Nucleic Acid Engineering (12-16 hr)

  • Synthetic nucleic acids
  1. Unnatural bases and backbones
  2. Self-assembly, materials
  3. Nucleic acid amplification and detection
  4. Therapeutics
  5. Aptamers
  6. Catalytic nucleic acids
  7. In vitro selection, in vitro evolution
  8. Molecular computation 
  9. Genome editing
  • Biological nucleic acids
  1. Riboswitches
  2. Ribozymes

Laboratory: Design, construction, and characterization of functional nucleic acids (12-16 hr labs)

Course Type: 
Reports 50%; Presentations 50%
Text Book: 
Reference Book: 
Original papers will be supplied as required