Lipid vesicles can be functionalized with non-complementary DNA ligands that, alone, do not give rise to any adhesion. In this condition, only the addition of a third target DNA strand, which binds together the otherwise non-complementary ligands, will induce adhesion between vesicles (Fig 1). Using this principle, two electrochemical cell devices are proposed for the detection specific DNA strands.
The first is based on functional lipid mesophases, in which the porosity depends on the concentration of target DNA strands (1). This porosity is in turn linked to the ionic conductance of the material, which is easy to measure and quantify.
The second simply considers the probability of vesicles adhering to a supported lipid bilayer at different concentrations of target DNA. The number of vesicles adhering to the supported lipid bilayer will change according to target DNA concentration (2), and this can be quantified by surface impedance spectroscopy akin to cell counting (3).
Once optimised for DNA detection, this sensing platform could be applied and extended to the detection of other biomolecules, including antibodies/antigens and other biomarkers.
Omar Amjad, Biological and Soft Systems Group, Cavendish Laboratory
Omar will conduct most of the implementation of the project, building upon more fundamental work completed under the supervision of Dr. Lorenzo Di Michele and Prof. Pietro Cicuta, whose involvement is critical for the design. As a Sensor CDT student, Omar is experienced with the basic electronics required in this project, and his work with microfluidics and vesicles during his PhD make him well suited for such a project.
Lorenzo Di Michele, Biological and Soft Systems Group, Cavendish Laboratory
Lorenzo's role will be largely supervisory, troubleshooting the theoretical and practical considerations for the device, as well as interfacing with potential other team members and collaborators.
Pietro Cicuta, Biological and Soft Systems Group, Cavendish Laboratory
Pietro's role will be largely supervisory, troubleshooting the theoretical and practical considerations for the device, as well as interfacing with potential other team members and collaborators.
Project report and documentation on Github
Bill of Materials