Portable SPR-based digital microfluidic array platform

Principal Investigator: Maryam Tabrizian
Theme : Health
Competition : Genomics research in human health - translational stream
Status : Completed
Start : Oct. 1, 2010
End: Sept. 30, 2012
Budget : $795,000.00

A biosensor can best be described as a biological sensor (an enzyme or microorganism) which is linked to a photoelectron multiplier system and allows for observing the presence of specific substances (for example, a cancer biomarker or insulin rate). Biosensors have a wide range of applications, particularly in the environmental, biotechnology and biomedical sectors. Over the past two decades, biosensors based on a specific photogenic phenomenon, surface plasmon resonance or SPR, have been developed, greatly enhancing our understanding of the use of biological sensors as analytical tools. Commercial SPR sensors however, are still very unwieldy (not to mention expensive), primarily due to their sophisticated optical system. The instruments could also benefit from greater sensitivity, which would allow for more accurate diagnoses.

This project aims to develop and fine-tune a prototype of a portable biosensor, and eventually transfer the underlying technology for commercial use. The proposed system will include innovate microelectronics, a novel optical design, nanofabrication technologies, and a new surface chemistry for improved biological sensor recognition. At present, there is no technology on the market which combines all of these features within a single biosensor.

This translational research proposal ensues from the interest of commercial partners in marketing this original, affordable and extremely interesting technology for use in environmental (genomics) and medical (proteomics) applications. The project would bring together Québec research scientists with demonstrated expertise in mass nanofabrication, all of whom would work in dedicated facilities at McGill University and NRC-IMI. Once completed, this innovation would be made available to private partners.



Andrew Kirk McGill University
Teodor Veres Industrial Materials Institute