Leiden University, Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Einsteinweg 55, 2333CC, Leiden, The Netherlands
Gregory Schneider is a chemist and graduated from the University of Strasbourg in 2005. After a postdoc at Harvard with George Whitesides and at TU Delft with Cees Dekker, he is now a Tenure Track assistant professor at the University of Leiden. Gregory Schneider was recently awarded an ERC-Starting (2013), VIDI (2014), VENI (2014, Dr. Fu), Marie Curie (2016, Dr. Zhang), and SME-KBBE (Decathlon, 2014). His research activities put chemistry at the center of 2D materials research with the major goal of understanding and rationalizing molecular transport through (nanoporous) two dimensional membranes. Applications range from selective membrane filtration of water and analytes for sustainable (blue) energy applications to fabricating arrays of nanopore and nanogap sensors able of high throughput DNA/protein sequencing for evolutionary, heath and analytic application.
DNA sequencing is very rapidly growing into an industry of major interest. A variety of techniques exist, each with their own pros and cons. The use of nanopores – nanoscale holes in a membrane – for DNA sequencing was proposed more than 20 years ago. The idea is straightforward: pass a DNA molecule through the pore from head to tail, and read off each base when it is located at the narrowest constriction of the pore, using the ion current passing through the pore as the probe for detecting the identity of the base. While biological pores were investigated for quite some time, solid-state nanopores are now emerging. They have tunable pore size, are more stable than biological membranes, offer re-usability upon cleaning, and allow for scaling and device integration. DNA sequencing, however, has so far not been demonstrated with these devices : conventional silicon-based nanopore membranes are relatively thick, typically ~30 nm, which corresponds to ~60 bases along a single-stranded DNA molecule. While solid-state nanopores are excellent new tools for biophysical studies, they are therefore not directly useful as-is in DNA sequencing applications. Recently however, graphene nanopores were introduced. Graphene forms the ultimate nanopore membrane since it is a carbon sheet with a thickness of only a single atom. Furthermore it is electrically conductive, which opens up new modalities of measuring the traversing nucleotides, for example by running a tunneling current through the DNA molecule that is traversing a graphene gap, to directly probe the chemical nature of the bases.
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