What are bionanomachines?
Bionanomachines are devices about 1/1000th the diameter of a human hair that perform useful tasks. Generally, they are derived from living organisms and are composed of organic molecules like sugars, proteins, fats, DNA and RNA. Bionanomachines offer unparalleled advantages with their extremely small size, low production cost, and ease of modification. Importantly, many bionanomachines already affect our everyday lives, ranging from protein-digesting enzymes in laundry detergents, to improved natural fibers. In the area of healthcare there are many exciting opportunities. Currently, biosynthetic medicines such as insulin, and a number of medical diagnostic tools are being developed, and this is just the beginning. In addition to drug-like functions, bionanomachines offer the promise of addressing different types of medical conditions, such as repair tasks like cleaning arteries, and the replacement or improvement of bodily functions.
WHAT IS THE CREATE TRAINING PROGRAM IN BIONANOMACHINES?
Financed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the CREATE Training Program in Bionanomachines (or CTPB) is the first Canadian program to train students in the principles, design, and applications of bionanotechnology. The CTPB links the world-class expertise in protein engineering, structural biology, bioinformatics, and medical therapeutics present in our universities, and provides funding and training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Graduate students accepted into the CTPB will participate in workshops, inter-institutional rotations and symposia that will help develop the multi-disciplinary skills needed for this new field. Students participating in the CTPB will hence become a new generation of creative, versatile, highly skilled personnel, empowered to drive the many technological advances that will come from bionanotechnology.