Biosensors are analytical tools which combine a biorecognition agent which provides selectivity and a transducer that confers sensitivity and can convert the biorecognition event into a measurable electronic signal. The advantage of using biosensor over traditional techniques is represented by their low costs, small dimensions, portability, and fast response. The different areas for potential biosensor applications are mainly medical diagnosis, environmental monitoring and food analysis.
DNA analysis is of extreme importance to solve problems of different nature such as investigation on genetic diseases, detection of food and water contamination by microorganism, studies on breeding origins or tissue matching, and solution of forensic issues. The techniques for genome identification are nowadays mainly based on DNA sequencing by using fluorescent labels and optical detectors. They require a few days for the analysis to be completed and the costs are prohibitive to the general public. Demand has never been greater for innovative technologies which can provide fast, inexpensive and reliable genome information.
The focus of my research is on the development of analytical tools (biosensors) for the rapid, reliable and low cost identification of DNA sequences. In order to achieve that, different electrochemical techniques are used for the detection of the analytical signal. The developed biosensors are based on various platforms (such as gold, carbon and silicon) and different nanomaterials (i.e. gold nanoparticles, graphene nanoplatelets and several quantum dots) are employed for the amplification of the obtained signal and the improvement of detection limit.
The final step of this work is the application of the developed genosensor to real sample analysis. Once this second part is successfully accomplished, the analytical tool could be eventually integrated into a DNA amplification process, resulting in a portable device for point-of-care diagnostic tests and for very sensitive detection of SNPs correlated to different diseases.
This field includes research in the two following areas:
- Application of DNA genosensors to identify of DNA sequences correlated to bacteria involved in food contamination (i.e. Salmonella spp, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli)
- Development of electrochemical biosensors for the detection of antioxidant capacity of food and beverages
- H. Tian, L. Wang, Z. Sofer, M. Pumera, A. Bonanni. (2016). Boron- and Nitrogen-doped Graphene Platforms for the Detection of DNA Bases: the Electrochemical Signal is Strongly Influenced by the Kind of Dopant and the Nucleobase Structure. Scientific Reports, 6, 33046.
- Kai Hwee Hui, Adriano Ambrosi, Martin Pumera, Alessandra Bonanni*. (2016). Improving the Analytical Performance of Graphene Oxide towards the Assessment of Polyphenols. Chemistry - A European Journal, 22, 3830-3834.
- A. Ambrosi, C. K. Chua, N. M. Latiff, A. H. Loo, C. H. A. Wong, A. Y. S. Heng, A. Bonanni, M. Pumera. (2016). Graphene and its electrochemistry – an update. Chemical Society Reviews, 45, 2458.
- K.H. Hui, M. Pumera, A. Bonanni. (2015). Chemically modified graphenes: the influence of structural properties on the assessment of antioxidant capacity. Chemistry - A European Journal, 21, 11793.
- K.H. Hui, A. Ambrosi, M. Pumera, A. Bonanni. (2015). Dopant type and amount governs the electrochemical performance of graphene platforms for antioxidant activity quantification. Nanoscale, 7, 9040.