Living Circuits: A CRISPR NOR Gate

|Client: Prof. Derek Ng

|Format: 11 x 17″ magazine spread

|Audience: Popular science, general

|Tools: Cinema4D, Chimera, Photoshop, Illustrator

Lessons Learned: Molecular model retrieval across platforms, epmv processing, compositing, molecular visualization principles

CRISPR is one of the biggest science stories of the decade. However, most visualizations on CRISPR focuses on its structure and mechanism; the system’s application beyond gene editing however, is rarely depicted. Engineering living digital circuits is one of these emerging application of CRISPR that hasn’t been showcased visually. The challenge of explaining how a CRISPR circuit lies not just in creating a engaging yet accurate picture of each individual elements of the circuit, but also in helping the reader to understand how a logical operation is computed –– in the context of both electronics, and dynamic genetic control. By showing the logic of this system using a truth table, and constructing a cancer therapy scenario where CRISPR does more than just editing out a cancer gene, we hope to introduce a new perspective to CRISPR: It’s not just a pair of molecular scissors, it’s a synthetic decision-making system.

Final composition of the infographic spread for “Living circuits”
CRISPR Circuit draft
4th draft of the CRISPR circuit infographic
8-bit polymerase, Cas9, cancer cell and normal cell
Early drafts and composites for the CRISPR circuit
Early drafts and composites for the CRISPR circuit and CRISPR NOR gate