Episode 94: Nanobots and 007..No Time to Die

Next month, a “Jobs in STEAM” series will begin, with career talks and panel discussions to provide information and advice to those who wish to pursue a career in STEAM.

There will be 60-minute webinars once or twice a month, and the first event will be on Thursday 11th November at 12 pm. Find out more at www.steamedc.com.

This week, Dr. Bahijja talks about nanobots, the novel bioweapon in the new James Bond film “No Time to Die”, acting as a contagious virus which can even be programmed to target a specific person using their DNA. Is this really possible?

James Bond – a hot topic in academia

First of all, it will probably come as a surprise that James Bond is a pretty popular theme in academia. There’s even an academic journal which exclusively contains research articles surrounding topics in James Bond films – The International Journal of James Bond Studies . Some of their articles include ‘You’re a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr Bond’: The Elemental Encounters of James Bond, and ‘Mr Bond, I’ve been expecting you’: The Cinematic Inaugurations of a New James Bond.

Another article, No time to die’: An in-depth analysis of James Bond’s exposure to infectious agentsin the journal Travel Medicine and Infectious Diseases, explores the hypothesis that agents preoccupied with espionage and counter terrorism should prioritise travel medicine, addressing a range of topics including “Nightfall: sexual health”, “A flu to a kill: air and droplet borne diseases” and more.

Onto the nanobots…

Nanobots are essentially nano-sized robots, designed to carry out a specific function. They’re extremely small – for reference, 1cm contains 10,000,000 nanometres, and nanotechnology is conducted at nanoscale, which is generally between 1-100 nanometres. Nanobots represent an emerging area of technology, often used in biomimicry – studying how nature works, and whether these mechanisms could be used to solve problems. For example, looking at how something behaves in water when hydrated, and whether it has any potential for macroscale movement based on its properties. In the context of drug delivery, if one polymer swells and hydrates quicker than another, giving rise to a different shape, the drugs could be released in a different way.

Image Credit: AZO Nano

When considering different systems, it’s important to think about how the nanobots are going to be made, and what kind of technology would provide the best resolution to produce a nanomachine. One interesting nanomanufacturing approach is found in the production of NUbots, a nucleic acid bot designed with DNA strands, however it isn’t yet anywhere near as advanced as the Bond nanobots!

Want to find out more? Check out these links:

DNA nanotechnology - https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-DNA-Nanotechnology.aspx

Nanobots in medicine - https://www.therobotreport.com/nanobots-promise-change-medical-treatment/

Episode image credit: www.007.com/no-time-to-die/

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