Closed loop system for folding and RNA simulation utilizing robotic synthesis.

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  • Updated 9 years ago
If the ultimate goal is to improve automated RNA analysis algorithms like Folding@Home by taking simulations and then manually trying to synthesize them in the lab to see what simulations were the most accurate real world predictions, wouldn't it make sense to use robotics to completely automate the synthesis process. That way the computer could theoretically improve it's own algorithms by automatically synthesizing candidates and automatically assessing the results. It would start by trial and error and then use pattern seeking algorithms to refine it's approach, not all that different from a hypothesize and test approach done by humans. This would just be faster in theory, by making the whole operation closed loop, automated and systematic.

Does this make sense to others? I figure the robotic part shouldn't be too difficult for cmu...
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Posted 9 years ago

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rhiju, Researcher

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Official Response
Yes! We're working on it. In fact we're trying to use microfluidic devices ("labs on a chip") to do it all. There are still challenges in getting our recipes to work robustly at that tiny micron scale, especially regarding the synthesis of DNA (which, commercially, is done with centimeter-scale devices).

Actually, my overall vision is that you guys should just be able to design molecules, synthesize them, and see how they affect living cells in real time, but all on-line and without us... sort of like cloud computing, but instead "cloud biochemistry". Sounds far-fetched, but this doable with modern technology, and some of us at Stanford are pursuing the vision....