Grant to increase security in DNA synthesis

Congratulations to Ivan Damgård and Carsten Baum who, in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, Tsinghua University, Northeastern University and the Weizmann Institute of Science, will be working on DNA Synthesis Screening Methods.

Ass. Prof. Carsten Baum & Prof. Ivan Damgård. Photo by Søren Kjeldgaard.

From Open Philanthropy, Damgård and Baum have received USD 474,000 for their part of a three-year project, in which they will work on increasing security in DNA synthesis.

Iin collaboration with their project partners, Damgård and Baum will construct a DNA screening system based on distributed oblivious pseudorandom functions. This system will test DNA sequences against a database of potential hazards. It prevents the database from learning the sequence that gets screened, and also makes the hazards database unintelligible so that it cannot be stolen. They will further contribute by improving the existing design to be more efficient and secure, both against quantum attackers or leakage of database queries.