Independent Research associates & joint labs

Elisha Krieg

We use DNA as a key component for the construction of reconfigurable, stimuli-responsive nanomaterials and functional biomolecular devices.


Biological systems use self-assembly and self-organization to build complex materials (e.g. the cytoskeleton) and to construct and operate sophisticated macromolecular devices (e.g. motor proteins). Inspired by biology’s refined design principles, we engineer nanomaterials and devices with programmable and reconfigurable properties. We use DNA as the quintessential component for these artificial systems, as it enables us to assemble structures with custom size, shape, mechanical properties, and stimuli-responsiveness. Our functional nanosystems will address current challenges in molecular biology, biophysics and materials science.

Adaptive nanomaterials

We aim to establish design rules for DNA-based materials, in particular polyacrylamide-DNA copolymers. We correlate their bulk characteristics with the nanomechanical properties of their components, and use external chemical, optical, and mechanical signals to enable reversible switching between different functional configurations. We study the performance of these materials as tools for molecular biology, tissue engineering, and diagnostics.

Multi-component nanodevices

Using the DNA origami method, we seek to construct discrete molecular machines that can perform complex tasks. DNA origami structures serve as pegboards to assemble multiple components with well-defined tasks and positions, enabling them to work together synergistically, in a manner that is unachievable by the individual building blocks alone.

Improving the performance, stability and accessibility of self-assembled nanosystems

The success and real-life application of DNA-based materials would greatly benefit from lower cost and higher robustness under relevant conditions. We develop methods for the isolation of chemically modified, low-cost DNA strands with access to a wide sequence space. We study the performance of these alternative DNA precursors for assembly of DNA origami and DNA-based copolymers with superior properties.



Design (top) and TEM images (bottom) of three different DNA origami structures. Adapted from E. Krieg and W. M. Shih, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57, 714.
Example of a reconfigurable and stimuli-responsive nanomaterial that can be programmed to selectively capture molecular targets, isolate, and finally release them back into solution.

Methods and Expertise

  • DNA nanotechnology
  • Organic, supramolecular and polymer chemistry
  • Standard methods in molecular biology
  • Nanoparticle synthesis and purification
  • Nanomaterial characterization: electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, oscillatory rheology, steady-state and time-resolved UV/Vis and fluorescence spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, gel permeation chromatography

Positions for MSc students

  • If you are interested in a MSc project, please send your CV together with a short (1 paragraph) description about your background and scientific interests to

Positions for PhD students



Elisha Krieg, William M. Shih, Dionis Minev, Richard Guerra DNA-tagged methanol responsive polymer for single-stranded nucleic acid production. WO2019200026 (2019).

Elisha Krieg and William M. Shih, Acrylamide copolymerization for sequestration and production of single-stranded nucleic acid. US201662393600 (2016), WO2018049315A8 (2018).

Boris Rybtchinski, Elisha M. Krieg, Haim Weissman, Shira Weissman, Yaron Tidhar, Separation of nanoparticles. WO2012025928A1 (2012), EP2608874A1 (2013), US9067181B2 (2015).

Boris Rybtchinski, Elijah Shirman, Alona Ustinov, Netanel Ben-Shitrit, Haim Weissman, Elisha M. Krieg, Galina Golubkov, Jonathan Baram, Doubly reduced perylene-diimides and supramolecular polymers derived from perylene-diimides. WO2009118742A1 (2009), US8968886B2 (2015), EP3067354A1 (2016).

Current Funding

Selected References (see google scholar)

Shrestha P., Tomov T.E., MacDonald J.I., Yang D., Ward A., Krieg E., Cabi S., Luo Y., Nathwani B., Johnson-Buck A., Shih W.M., Wong W.P. Single-molecule mechanical fingerprinting with DNA nanoswitch calipers. Nature Nanotechnology (2021).

Krieg E., Gupta K., Dahl, A., Lesche, M., Boye, S., Lederer, A., Shih, W.M. A Smart Polymer for Sequence-Selective Binding, Pulldown and Release of DNA Targets. Commununications Biology 3, 369 (2020).

Minev D., Guerra R., Kishi, J., Smith, C., Krieg, E., Said, K., Hornick, A., Sasaki, H., Filsinger, G., Beliveau, B., Yin, P., Church, G.M., Shih, W.M. Rapid in Vitro Production of Single-Stranded DNA. Nucleic Acids Research 47 (2019).

Krieg E., Shih W.M. Selective Nascent Polymer Catch and Release Enables Scalable Isolation of Multi-Kilobase Single-Stranded DNA. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 57, 714 (2018).

Krieg E., Bastings M.M.C., Besenius P., Rybtchinski B.; Supramolecular polymers in aqueous media. Chemical Reviews 116, 2414–2477 (2016).

Krieg E., Weissman, H. Shimoni E., Shirman E., Rybtchinski B. A recyclable supramolecular membrane for size-selective separation of nanoparticles. Nature Nanotechnology 6, 141– 146 (2011).

Krieg E., Rybtchinski B. Noncovalent water-based materials: robust yet adaptive. Chemistry - A European Journal 17, 9016–9026 (2011).

Krieg E., Shirman E., Weissman H., Shimoni E., Wolf S., Pinkas I., Rybtchinski B. Supramolecular gel based on a perylene diimide dye: multiple stimuli responsiveness, robustness, and photofunction. Journal of the American Chemical Society 131, 14365–14373 (2009).