Biosensors are created by coupling biomolecular recognition with an electrochemical process to detect the presence of target analytes. The biomolecular recognition can be a simple binding event or it can be a more complex catalytic process. We are interested in developing new biosensors for a variety of applications. Not only are we interested in developing functional systems but we are also interested in developing platforms creating new biosensors rapidly for the detection of emerging targets and we are interesting in developing design rules aimed at predicting biosensor performance prior to device construction.
In one approach, we have been using phage display to identify short unstructured peptides that bind to different protein targets. So far, we have used phage display to identify peptides that can bind to Troponin I which is a cardiac cell stress marker and ALT which is a liver cell stress marker. These peptides bind the targets with high affinity and we have been able to immobilize these peptides on gold electrodes. We have used a variety of analytical techniques including the quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) in order to develop the optimal electrochemical techniques to make biosensors from the peptides. In collaboration with Alan West’s group in Chemical Engineering we have determined that electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) is an ideal platform for detecting the target proteins using the peptide-based biosensors.
We have also developed biosensors for the superoxide radical, organophosphate compounds, and formaldehyde. We have also “wired” glucose oxidase with gold nanoparticles, which may be a useful approach for creating glucose biosensors.
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