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Nucleic Acid Memory

What is the ambitious goal of this project?


digital Nucleic Acid Memory platform

Our goal is to take to market a new DNA-based data storage technology. This will require great science in multiple domains, entrepreneurial skills, and creative communication of science. The project is using DNA nanotechnology to store information. The world stores so much more data each year that our production of silicon needed to store data in computers is not keeping up. Other materials, such as magnetic tape, are actually more common for storing data, but take up way more space, and have to be backed up every 5 years or so. Our dream is to use DNA origami nanostructures as a material to store data at the size of molecules, using simple low energy fabrication, and with the potential to retain data for millions of years. This VIP team will explore all aspects of what it will take to make this dream a reality.

Experience Gained

After participating in this VIP, students will be able to:

  • produce DNA in bacterial cultures
  • synthesize DNA origami
  • analyze DNA origami using microscopy approaches
  • understand data matrix encodings, and
  • develop market analysis and pitch decks

Majors and Interests Needed

  • Biological Sciences
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Marketing
  • Materials Science & Engineering
  • Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering
  • Digital Media
  • Data Science

This project uses the following tools and methodologies

  • coding and coding software
  • design thinking
  • laboratory testing
  • market research

VIP Coach Information

Dr. Eric Hayden is Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and runs the Hayden Lab. Full profile at
Dr. Tim Anderson: Contact:
Dr. Ben Johnson: Contact:

Course Information

VIP  200, VIP 400 or VIP 500
Full semester course. Choose to enroll in 1 or 2 credits.
Weekly meetings: Fridays 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (in-person)

Interested in joining this team?

For more information and to request a permission number to register contact Dr. Eric Hayden OR complete this interest form and someone will contact you. Check out this page for tips on contacting a professor.

To register:  search by Subject: Vertically Integrated Projects, read the project description to find the right section of VIP 200, 400, or 500. Use permission number, here are instructions Add with a permission number

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