The death of the author

“A text’s unity lies not in its origin, but in its destination.” – Roland Barthes (1967, translated 1977)

I am in the middle of writing my PhD thesis. This is generally not considered an easy process, and I concur with that sentiment. For me, it includes stretches of intense productivity, digging for long-forgotten data, and dry eyes. There are also long periods of staring out of the window, while stewing on my thoughts. In one such stewing session, my thoughts wandered towards the quote above. It is from the essay “The Death of the Author” by Roland Barthes. Barthes disapproved of the idea that to find the true meaning of a text, one must consider it through the identity of its scripter. Instead, he argued that meaning lies exclusively in the words themselves, and their impressions on the reader. Thus, the unity of a text is not found in its origin, but in its destination. As Barthes wrote himself, “writing is that into which every subject escapes, the trap where all identity is lost, beginning with the very identity of the body that writes.”1 “The author enters into their own death, and writing begins.”2

DNA nanotechnologies: ideal tools for theranostics?

Theranostics is an emerging field that combines the power of diagnostics and therapeutic at the same time. The idea is not completely new, Nuclear Medicine has been using for example radioactive iodine to both image and treat certain types of thyroidal diseases (1), but nanotechnologies have the potential to generate highly controllable systems and expand the therapeutic arsenal of clinicians.

The branching path in the life of a PhD

As we approach the delineated end of this common venture that the ITN network was, all the students involved are starting to work towards the final stretches. Among the issues that require our attention in these coming days, a serious one that has been hanging over me like the proverbial Damocles sword is, and then what?

Linear actuators made from DNA

In this article we show two different approaches to produce linear actuators made from DNA

In all levels of engineering, complex machinery is based on the concerted activity of many different subunits of heterogeneous nature. One of such subunits are the linear actuators we refer to in the title. Basically, a linear actuator is a device or construct capable of producing a motion confined in one axis; this type of devices, as they are currently found in mechanisms and machines, can be as large as the ones found in the hydraulic arm of an excavator or as precise as the piezoelectric actuators capable of movements in the nanometer range.

Artificial protein-DNA conjugates: Increasing the versatility of proteins with the help of DNA

Hey there! This is Lorena, and in this post I will talk about protein-DNA conjugates, as part of the lecture course 🙂 I have recently been working quite a lot with them, so I am very excited to cover some of their aspects

Proteins have incredible properties nobody else in the bio-world has. Their highly complex tertiary structure and the richness of their chemical groups allows them to bind molecules with high affinity and in a very selective way. They are also able to act as very efficient catalysts, showing high substrate turnover ratios. Thus, it is no surprise that proteins attract a great deal of attention and are in high demand for a lot of applications.