Developing a technology to identify structure between molecules


Understanding how a specific molecule behaves during complex biological processes is a challenge facing biomedical research. A major new EU project, iSenseDNA, focuses on developing a technology to identify what a change in the structure of a molecule could mean for its function.

Researchers of the iSenseDNA project aim to develop a technology that links changes in the biomolecule’s structure to its function during complex dynamic processes in real time. Technologies currently exist to study how a certain molecule functions during a biological process, and there are techniques for studying the detailed structure of molecules. However, none have managed to connect the structure to function on a large scale. This makes it difficult to predict which structural changes are needed to improve drug development, for example.

The project, coordinated by Stefano Corni Department of Chemical Science at the University of Padua, aims to combine computational and biotechnological methods as a tool for conducting advanced optical analysis of biomolecules in action. Together, they want to develop what is known as a nano-transducer, or a DNA-based sensor sensitive to structural changes and able to read them in real time.

Researchers in the iSenseDNA project come from universities (Uppsala, Umeå and the University of Padova), research centres (CNR, BIO, DESY, ESRF) and companies (OrganoTherapeutics, OT) from across Europe (Sweden, Italy, Spain, Germany, Luxembourg, France.) The project has a total budget of around EUR 3 million and is funded by the European Innovation Council as part of the EIC pathfinder Open Call.