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UNS: Effects of Nanostructure on the Performance of Nucleic Acid-Based Electrochemical Biosensors


<p>In this research project the researchers will fabricate novel electrodes with nanofeatures to understand how nanoscale features on the electrodes enhance sensitive measurement of DNA. The fundamental studies is likely to develop more sensitive electrochemical biosensors for DNA. If successful, potential applications include food safety, water quality and medical diagnostics.</p>

<p>Intellectual Merit -The central goal is to conduct fundamental studies to relate nanostructure features on working electrode and nucleic acid-based sensor performance on both biomolecular and electrochemical levels. The PI will use bottom-up and top-down fabrication approaches to create multiple electrode arrays (MEAs) that are composed of building blocks of gold nano-pillars and nano-wells. The MEA-based libraries with individually addressable nanostructured sensor elements will allow for systematic high-throughput studies of structure-property relationships. The scientific goal will be on understanding how nanostructure geometry influences (a) electrochemical activity of common redox reporters, (b) DNA probe grafting density and orientation, and (c) sensor performance by determining detection limit, dynamic range, and selectivity in complex media of target DNA. In addition, nanoporous gold will be used to determine the structure-property relationships in a more complex nanostructured model system. The expected outcome is to reveal a set of design rules for the development of nanostructured electrochemical sensor elements. Broader Impacts : The broader impact of this project encompasses societal benefits and educational opportunities. The MEA-based nanostructure library will be broadly available to the scientific community as a versatile tool for studying structure-property relationships in numerous fields, including biomedical device coatings, catalytic fuel cells, and nano-scale basic science phenomena. On educational and outreach aspects, through an established collaboration with the Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology Program at UC Davis, the PI will prototype an online course that merges micro- and nano-fabrication with life sciences targeted broadly at undergraduate/graduate students and industrial participants. The focus will be in designing practical online assignments that tap into fresh data on nanostructure-sensor performance relationships produced by the research efforts. Through a competitive arrangement undergraduate students will be encouraged to write short research proposals for obtaining a summer internship at the PI's laboratory. Undergraduate students will be employed on customized projects that are consistent with the scientific goals of this proposal.</p>

Seker, Erkin
University of California - Davis
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