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Weizmann Institute of Science, WISb

The Department of Biological Chemistry

The Weizmann Institute of Science is a research institute in Rehovot, Israel, founded in 1934 by Chaim Weizmann. It presently employs 2,500 staff and faculty, and has ~1000 M.Sc. and Ph.D students. It harbors research and teaching in mathematics and computer science, physics, chemistry and the life sciences. Work environment at Weizmann lends itself very effectively to multi-disciplinary research. The Weizmann Institute has two separate roles in the project executed by D. Lancet (at the departments of Molecular Genetics) and E. Shapiro (at the department of Biological Chemistry).

Prof. Ehud Shapiro is in charge of WP4. Shapiro's group would design and implement DNA processing and computing, directed by the DNA attached to the containers.

For the past 30 years Shapiro has explored uncharted territories across discipline boundaries, often ahead of his time and often with long-term impact. Shapiro's PhD thesis on Algorithmic Debugging (computer science at Yale University, 1982) had been selected as an ACM Distinguished Dissertation and gave rise to two independent and still-active research communities, Inductive Logic Programming (ILP) and Algorithmic and Automated Debugging (AADEBUG). During the years 1982-1993 his work on Concurrent Prolog caused Japan's Fifth Generation Computer Systems project to base it on concurrent logic programming. On March 1995 Ubique Ltd., founded by Shapiro, introduced Virtual Places 1.0 on, way ahead of its time, as an integrated product with functions now provided in three pieces by ICQ, Skype, and Second Life. In 1998 Shapiro offered a new paradigm for biomolecular computers: A programmable, autonomous biomolecular computer that operates within a biological environment and interacts with it via the input and output of biomolecules. In 2004 his group demonstrated a biomolecular autonomous programmable automaton that can, at least in vitro, diagnose conditions of specific cancers and release a drug molecule upon positive diagnosis. As a result he was selected for "Scientific American 50" as Research Leader in Nanotechnology and won the World Technology Network Individual Prize in Biotechnology.

Binyamin (Benny) Gil (PostDoc of Prof. Shapiro) has been working on molecular computation since 2003 when he joined Prof. Shapiro's lab as an M.Sc..

Gil developed a functional output for the molecular automaton presented in 2004 and since he has been working on expanding the automaton's molecular capabilities.