One of the most important and recent trends in biosensor technology is continuous monitoring of metabolite using wearable biosensors. In parallel to the advancement in wearable electronics, wearable sensor-based systems for healthcare applications have attracted a significant interest both in industrial and academic research. Wearable biosensor applications aim to change centralised hospital-based care system to home-based personal medicine and reduce healthcare cost and time for diagnosis. Electrochemical transducers offer many advantages for wearable sensors for physiological monitoring, and can be easily integrated onto textile materials or directly on the skin.
These efforts have resulted in successful wearable physical sensors, such as temperature and pressure, for monitoring biophysical signals including heart rate, respiration rate, skin temperature, and brain activity. However, these physical sensors require external complementary measures to diagnose diseases precisely. On the other hand, wearable biosensors are able to give direct information about specific disease biomarkers and metabolite changes in bodily fluids. Our research focus is to develop wearable biosensing devices for specific disease biomarkers for continuous health monitoring.
Interfacing Materials for Bioelectronics
The integration of nanomaterials as a bridge between the biological and electronic worlds has revolutionised understanding of how to generate functional bioelectronic devices and has opened up new horizons for the future of bioelectronics. The use of nanomaterials as a versatile interface in the area of bioelectronics offers many practical solutions and has recently emerged as a highly promising route to overcome technical challenges in the control and regulation of communication between biological and electronics systems. Hence, the interfacing of nanomaterials is yielding a broad platform of functional units for bioelectronic interfaces and is beginning to have a significant impact on many fields within the life sciences.
In parallel with advancements in the successful combination of the fields of biology and electronics using nanotechnology in a conventional way, a new branch of switchable bioelectronics, based on signal-responsive materials and related interfaces, has begun to emerge. Switchable bioelectronics consists of functional interfaces equipped with molecular cues that are able to mimic and adapt to their natural environment and change physical and chemical properties on demand. These switchable interfaces are essential tools to develop a range of technologies to understand the function and properties of biological systems such as bio-catalysis, control of ion transfer and molecular recognition used in bioelectronics systems. For further reading, click here.
Even though designing of stimuli-responsive interfaces helps to control and regulate (bio)molecular interactions and eventually signal outputs, when the system involves many different inputs including different molecules or different reaction conditions, the overall system requires programming of each individual input and condition by segregating and/or putting all the parameters in order to maximise performance. However, current approaches are insufficient to satisfy these requirements. Recent studies, especially in the area of biotechnology, show that there is an obvious need to develop such systems with an ability to rearrange, control and order their functions. The programmable approach provides many opportunities to biotechnologists who specialize in artificial biological systems, such as mimicking living cells. It is well known that in nature, living reactions are naturally programmed, and attempts to construct artificial biological systems have generally resulted in vastly inferior performance. Because of this, in addition to advancement in the area of biotechnology to reach the target of the artificial biological system, the idea of biocomputing and/or programming is necessary.
DNA-sensors based Surface Plasmon Resonance
For this project, we have mainly worked on DNA hybridization on the gold surface by using a microcontact printing method and characterization of the surface with imagining surface plasmon resonance. In this work, we perform micro-contact printing of single-stranded DNA molecules on the gold surface and tried to sense hybridization by flowing complementary and non-complementary DNA solutions. Finally, we characterized the surface of gold based on the change in optical properties using imagining surface plasmon resonance (i-SPR) method.