ISL & IT Forum present "Building a DNA information storage system from the bottom up"

Building a DNA information storage system from the bottom up
Friday, June 21, 2019 - 1:15pm
Packard 202
Henry Lee (Harvard Medical School)
Abstract / Description: 

DNA has emerged as a compelling data storage medium due to its density, longevity, and eternal relevance compared to current memory technologies. However, the high price of synthesizing DNA (list price $3,500 per megabyte) remains a major bottleneck for adoption of this promising storage solution. In this talk, I will present our work towards breaking down this barrier using enzymatic DNA synthesize and a tailored codec for robust data retrieval. I will also touch upon some fundamental considerations when designing DNA information storage systems.


Henry is broadly interested in developing technologies that harness biology's unique properties of self-replication, massive parallelization, and programmable atomic-level precision. He received a BS in Electrical Engineering with a focus in Signal Processing from University of Washington. Fascinated by the view of cells as genetic circuits, he joined Prof. Jim Collins' lab at Boston University (now at MIT) to train in systems and synthetic biology. For his PhD, Henry used computational and hardware tools to uncover mechanisms by which microbial communities and phages in the microbiome give rise to antibiotic resistance. For his postdoctoral training, he joined Prof. George Church's lab at Harvard Medical School where he developed a new synthetic biology chassis using the fastest growing organism known, V. natriegens. Henry is currently leading a team at Harvard's Wyss Institute developing DNA synthesis platforms for storing digital information.