Prof. Ehud Shapiro of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, has been named Research Leader in the field of Nanotechnology and Molecular Electronics within the 2004 “Scientific American 50” - the magazine’s annual list recognizing outstanding acts of leadership in science and technology from the past year - for his work on DNA-based computing machines.
Prof. Shapiro has received this recognition for the creation of biomolecular computing devices. So small that more than a trillion fit into one drop of water, these devices are made entirely of DNA and other biological molecules. A recent version was programmed by Shapiro and his research team to identify signs of specific cancers in a test tube, to diagnose the type of cancer and to release drug molecules in response. Though cancer-detecting computers are still in the very early stages, and can thus far only function in test tubes, Shapiro and his research team envision future biomolecular devices that may be injected directly into the human body to detect and prevent or cure disease.
Recently, Prof. Shapiro received the 2004 World Technology Award for Biotechnology and his PhD student Yaakov Benenson received a 100 Top Young Innovators Award from MIT’s Technology Review Magazine.
The Scientific American 50 appears in the magazine’s December issue, arriving on newsstands November 23. The complete list may also be accessed from November 8 at www.sciam.com.
Prof. Ehud Shapiro's research is supported by the M.D. Moross Institute for Cancer Research, the Samuel R. Dweck Foundation, the Dolfi and Lola Ebner Center for Biomedical Research, the Benjamin and Seema Pulier Charitable Foundation, and the Robert Rees Fund for Applied Research.
Additional information and images are available at http://www.weizmann.ac.il/udi