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About this entry
Molecular Biology has been moving towards development of high throughput, small-scale platforms for various applications from medical research to molecular diagnostics in order to resolves worldwide issues such as antibiotic resistance. Advanced technologies, although mostly precise and sensitive, are expensive, time-consuming and require laboratory equipment and technical expertise. In addition, these tools are designed to target certain types of biomaterials (genomics and proteomics), or even a more specific target samples (specific protein arrays). Hence, there is lack of a universal tool capable of identification of living organisms through detection of biomolecules (DNA, RNA, Proteins) or characterization of cells in a rapid, cost-effective and user-friendly manner.
The novelty of our technology comes from the electronic nature of it. Looking at biomaterials and living organisms from an electronic point of view is a very interesting research subject which has never been put into practice. Our electronic method therefore involves direct measurements of electronic fingerprinting signals from the biological materials which are very characteristic to the type of each molecule. Using the idea of semiconductivity and other characteristic electronic properties of these biomolecules, we have developed novel first of its class of solid-state sensors which can receive electronic signals arising from nucleic acids and cells and convert them into quantitative solid-state parameters. Integrated within a Lab on Chip (LoC) platform, these data can then be used to help categorize the samples based on their biological origin. Using these information, we have for example able to electronically differentiate between viruses and bacteria within a period of 5 minutes, which could significantly assist in the global efforts in fighting antibiotic resistance. Further electronic characterization would enable the exact identification of each pathogen and allow specific or personalized medication to be prescribed. We believe that the electronic nature of the LoC platform integrating the solid-state sensors will therefore be instrumental towards establishing an electronic platform for eventual realization of efficient digital and connected healthcare in the near future.