BIOSENSORS FOR GLOBAL POLLUTANT CHALLENGES


Antje J. Baeumner
Institute of Analytical Chemistry, Chemo- and Biosensors, University of Regensburg

Biosensors and chemosensors, lab-on-a-chip devices, and paper-based systems are the leading platforms to serve as analytical tools in the rapid, on-site, in situ detection of pollutants that range from man-made materials to naturally occurring pathogens causing pandemics. Our research group has focused over more than a decade on the development biosensor concepts that address these challenges. While the main focus has been on pathogenic organisms including B. anthracis, C. parvum, dengue virus, E. coli, HIV, we also looked at associated proteins such as cholera toxin and small molecules such as thiamine. Drawing from this experience, we have identified key parameters that remain to be hurdles in the quest of global pollutant monitoring with rapid, cost-effective and highly sensitive sensors.
In this presentation we are going to discuss new concepts based on nanomaterials that enable the development of biosensors with immensely high signal-to-noise ratios, enable on-chip sample preparation such as separation, RNA amplification and mixing, and demonstrate how rapid prototyping of microchips can be realized in labs without clean room facility. Nanomaterials studied in our group include nanovesicles made of lipids, upconverting lanthanide-doped nanoparticles, nanofibers made of polymers such as PMMA, PVP, PVA, and hybrid nanocomposite materials.

Antje Baeumner

Antje J. Baeumner is Professor of Analytical Chemistry and Director of the Institute of Analytical Chemistry, Chemo- and Biosensors at the University of Regensburg, Germany. Before accepting the position in Regensburg, she was Professor of Biological Engineering and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, USA from 1999 - 2013. She is on the Board of Directors of the Society of Electroanalytical Chemistry, a member of the Extended Executive Committee of the International Association of Environmental Analytical Chemistry, was the 2010 Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Bioanalytical Sensors, and has received numerous honors in recent years including being Finalist for the Blavatnik Award of the NY Academy of Sciences, and recipient of a Humboldt Research Fellowship and a German National Science Foundation Mercator Guest Professorship. Her research is focused on the development of biosensors, micro-total analysis systems and smart lateral flow assays for the detection of pathogens and toxins in food and the environment, and for medical diagnostics. Nanomaterials play an important role in her research including nanoparticles and nanovesicles for signal amplification, nanofibers for immobilization and detection as well as mixing.