A generic biosensor is a device that translates a biomolecular binding event into an electrical or optical signal that can be quantified and recorded. Biosensors come in many different formats, from complicated nanofabricated mechanical transducers to simple but effective paper diagnostics such as a pregnancy test. They rely on the unique recognition properties of biomolecules, which can selectively bind their target molecule even at a high background concentration of similar molecules. Biosensors are widely used in modern medicine and essential in diagnosing disease. The module also describes the development and application of diagnostic tools for analysing blood chemistry and counting and analysing cells e.g. haematology.
The module explains how biomolecules can be attached to a typical transducer materials. Subsequently, the working mechanism of common transducers is addressed in detail. The module describes recent developments in diagnostic tools including “zero-cost” paper microfluidics, DNA sequencing, genetic analysis and single cell analytics. The commercial criteria for a successful diagnostic tool, for example for point-of-care diagnostic applications will be discussed.
The practical work takes places in the Centre for Hybrid Biodevices. You will first measure the amount of glucose in various samples with potentiostat and design a phone-reader app. The second experiment is an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for protein analysis of a blood sample using paper microfluidics.
The last weeks will be dedicated to analysis of specific papers from the scientific literature. In these tutorial sessions we will discuss key points of pre-selected journal papers with the entire group.