Research by Harvard scientists was driven by the need to make extremely small holes that mimic the pores in human cells through which different molecules must pass to keep the cells alive and healthy. “My colleagues and I first had the idea of sequencing genes by forcing DNA molecules through minute openings,” explains David Branton, Higgins Research Professor of Biology. Branton teamed up with Jene Golovchenko, professor of physics and applied physics at Harvard, who came up with the idea of making the holes in solid materials. “We have discovered how to move atoms across a surface with such high precision and control that we can make structures to detect and analyze particles as small as a single molecule of DNA,” says Golovchenko.