Mark Bathe, PhD

Photo of Professor Bathe.



Professor of Biological Engineering


Nucleic acid nanotechnology
Synthetic structural biology
Therapeutic nucleic acid delivery
Molecular computing, data storage and retrieval
Quantum information processing and computing
Quantitative fluorescence imaging and analysis
Complex data analysis and Bayesian inference


Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard
Center for Environmental Health Sciences
Center for Neurobiological Engineering
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Harvard Medical School Initiative for RNA Medicine


Professor Bathe obtained his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Degrees from MIT working in the Departments of Mechanical, Chemical, and Biological Engineering before moving to the University of Munich to carry out his postdoctoral research. He returned to MIT in 2009 to join the faculty in the Department of Biological Engineering, where he runs an interdisciplinary research group focused on the targeted delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids and vaccines, phenotypic profiling of neuronal circuits involved in psychiatric disease, and engineering nucleic acid materials for highly parallel molecular computing and massive data storage. Professor Bathe is Co-Director of the MIT New Engineering Education Transformation, an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvardand a Member of the HMS Initiative for RNA Medicine.  


The mission of the Bathe lab is to explore the use of nucleic acids as highly programmable nanoscale materials for revolutionary applications including the targeted in vivo delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids; massive molecular data storage, retrieval, and computing; and quantum computing and sensing, amongst other applications. Our lab develops both design and fabrication procedures based on principles of nucleic acid nanotechnology, which offers the unique ability to program RNA and DNA to form complex, custom nanoscale materials with unusual synthetic properties. Specifically, unlike other materials, nucleic acid based materials are fully controllable in their 2D and 3D structure as well as their chemical composition, which may incorporate peptides, lipids, sugars, chromophores, synthetic polymers, as well as nearly any other secondary molecule for functional purposes. These unique capabilities offer the ability to program molecular functions ranging from immune cell stimulation for vaccine applications to targeted therapeutic delivery of siRNA or CRISPR to organizing chromophore molecules for quantum information processing and computing. We are exploring new means of designing rationally, fabricating at high scale and quality, and validating in vitro and in vivo these nucleic acid based materials for the discovery and commercial translation of revolutionary new materials to solve leading societal problems worldwide.

Research Areas: 

Selected Publications:

Banal, J.L., T.R. Shepherd, J. Berleant, H. Huang, M. Reyes, C.M. Ackerman, P.C. Blainey, and M. Bathe. "Random access DNA memory using Boolean search in an archival file storage system." Nature Materials 20: 1272 (2021).
Dobrovolskaia, M.A., and M. Bathe. "Opportunities and challenges for the clinical translation of structured DNA assemblies as gene therapeutic delivery and vaccine vectors." WIREs Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology 13: e1657 (2020).
Veneziano, R., T.J. Moyer, M.B. Stone, S. Mukherjee, T.R. Shepherd, J. Das, W.R. Schief, D.J. Irvine, and M. Bathe. "Role of nanoscale antigen organization on B-cell activation probed using DNA origami." Nature Nanotechnology 15: 716 (2020).
Wamhoff, E-C., J.L. Banal, W.P. Bricker, T.R. Shepherd, M.F. Parsons, R. Veneziano, M.B. Stone, H. Jun, and M. Bathe. "Programming structured DNA assemblies to probe biophysical processes." Annual Review of Biophysics 48: 395 (2019).
Veneziano, R., S. Ratanalert, K. Zhang, F. Zhang, H. Yan, W. Chiu, and M. Bathe. "Designer nanoscale DNA assemblies programmed from the top down." Science 352: 1534 (2016).