Biosensors and Diagnostics
Separations Theory and Practice
Development and applications of new, highly specific sensors is a very important area in modern science. Diagnostics and biosensors, for example, have facilitated drug discovery and revealed insights on infection, disease mechanism, and cancer subtype. A number of Chemistry Faculty members are work in these areas.
Dr. Binghe Wang, a Georgia Research Foundation Eminent Scholar, is a leading researcher in the area of fluorescent carbohydrate sensing and recognition. His lab was the first to develop a fluorescent lectin mimic that can recognize cells and tissues based on specific carbohydrate biomarkers that are implicated in cancer. Dr. Giovanni Gadda’s research focus is on the mechanistic, biochemical and structural characterization of enzymes that catalyze oxidation-reduction reactions. Due to the consumption of oxygen in the reactions catalyzed by the enzymes, choline oxidase and 2-nitropropane dioxygenase, they can be used in biosensors for the detection of choline in biological fluids and foodstuff, and nitroalkanes in the environment and foodstuff.
Dr. Zhen Huang’s laboratory has recently developed a novel RNA detection and quantification strategy. They are developing RNA microchip technology, which will be simple, rapid, accurate, sensitive, high-throughput and cost-effective, and which will be an ideal approach for pathogen detection in biodefense and cancer diagnosis.
Dr. Gabor Patonay and Dr. Lucjan Strekowski have been developing new forensic presumptive diagnostics tests. Their work has been highly successful by introducing a new very sensitive and robust method for latent blood and other biological fluid detection. This new method has been validated by the FBI and is widely used by law enforcement laboratories in the US and several European countries.
The separation of enantiomers is widely studied in analytical chemistry as well as the pharmaceutical, agricultural, environmental and biological fields, since chiral drugs are administered either as enantiomers or as a racemic mixture. Thus rapid, sensitive analytical methods of high resolving power are required to control the synthetic chiral process and to understand the molecular basis of disease.
Dr. Shahab Shamsi is working on methods such as capillary electrophoresis (CE) coupled to mass spectrometry (MS) for the separation and sensitive detection of chiral compounds. One of the principal separation methods in chemistry is electrophoresis, yet accurately predicting how fast a specific molecule moves in an electric field (its mobility) is a challenge due to the complex interactions present.
In Dr. Stuart Allison’s laboratory, modeling the electrophoretic mobilities of biomolecules (peptides, proteins, and nucleic acids) and colloids (silica sols and polystyrene latexes) is under investigation. Dr. Patonay’s lab is developing new non-covalent labeling application to biomolecular CE separations using near infrared dyes in collaboration with Dr. Strekowski. This method eliminates the need for labeling while utilizing all the advantages of NIR detection. In addition, this method is useful for characterization of biomolecular interactions.