Dr Jonathan Berengut
Research Associate

Dr Jonathan Berengut

Medicine & Health
School of Clinical Medicine

I am a researcher who works primarily in the field of DNA nanotechnology. We build things out of DNA. But I don’t mean this in the same way that most molecular biologists build things with DNA -where DNA codes for amino acids, which fold into proteins. I mean we use DNA as a physical building material to construct very very small (nanometre scale) structures. This is possible because DNA strands have a simple set of rules that determine how the individual nucleotides stick together; ‘A’ base-pairs with ‘T’, and ‘C’ with ‘G’. By carefully designing the sequences of single-stranded DNA, we can therefore control exactly how these strands come together to form the desired shape or structure. I use a particular technique called ‘DNA origami’, which uses hundreds of these short synthetic DNA strands to efficiently ‘fold’ a longer strand into a complex structure. These structures can be 2D or 3D and tend to be in the order of tens to hundreds of nanometres in size. The designs can be flexible or rigid, and can include pivots, hinges, and sequence-specific binding sites. Because of this, they’re often used as ‘nano-breadboards’ to spatially organise molecules like proteins and nanoparticles very precisely. This allows us to build stuff like multi-enzyme nanoreactors and plasmonic nanodevices. I’m also super interested in building DNA origami nanobots that assemble themselves into specific formations, which I hope will one day give us new methods of controlling matter at the nanoscale.

Lowy Cancer Research Centre Level 3
  • Journal articles | 2022
    Brown JWP; Alford RG; Walsh JC; Spinney RE; Xu SY; Hertel S; Berengut JF; Spenkelink LM; Van Oijen AM; Böcking T; Morris RG; Lee LK, 2022, 'Rapid Exchange of Stably Bound Protein and DNA Cargo on a DNA Origami Receptor', ACS Nano, vol. 16, pp. 6455 - 6467, http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.2c00699
    Journal articles | 2016
    Milligan MJ; Harvey E; Yu A; Morgan AL; Smith DL; Zhang E; Berengut J; Sivananthan J; Subramaniam R; Skoric A; Collins S; Damski C; Morris KV; Lipovich L, 2016, 'Global intersection of long non-coding RNAs with processed and unprocessed pseudogenes in the human genome', Frontiers in Genetics, vol. 7, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2016.00026
  • Preprints | 2022
    Brown JWP; Alford R; Walsh J; Spinney R; Xu S; Hertel S; Berengut J; Spenkelink L; van Oijen A; Böcking T; Morris R; Lee L, 2022, Rapid exchange of stably bound protein and DNA cargo on a DNA origami receptor, http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2022.01.16.476526