Point-of-care Diagnostics for Resource-limited Settings

A nanopore is a small orifice with a diameter

ranging from 2 to 100nm. It can be extracted

from a biological organism (i.e. a protein channel)

or fabricated by drilling in a wafer using an

electron or ion beam (solid-state nanopore).

The generality of the detection principle and the

ease of single biomolecule detection suggest

many potential applications of the nanopore

technology in biosensing and diagnostics.

Nanopores operate on a basic principle: a

nanoscale hole is made on an impermeable membrane between two electrolytic fluid chambers. A steady “baseline” ion flux current across the pore can be observed when voltage is applied across the membrane. Monitoring the current across the pore enables molecular sensing, as transient changes in the ion flux across the pore can result from occupation of a macromolecule in the pore. Addition of charged biomolecules (e.g., DNA, proteins/peptides) to one of the fluid chambers results in continuous passing of biomolecules through the pore, which temporarily blocks the pore and produces a series of discrete fluctuations in the ion flux current. These current fluctuations communicate many properties of the sample, including the biomolecular size, concentration, and structure.

The nanopore technology is emerging as a tool for single

molecular studies (e.g. DNA, proteins, polysaccharides,

and viruses). The application of the nanopore technology

provides a pathway to answer fundamental biological

questions and could also lead to new biotechnology

with clinical applications. As the technology is maturing

in the DNA sequencing field, progress has also been

made with protein/peptide detection and mapping.

One promising application of nanopore is the detection

and analysis of biomarkers in human bodily fluids.
We aim to develop a portable in vitro diagnostic assay using nanopore technology for rapid diagnosis and treatment monitoring of diseases with high prevalence (e.g., HIV, Alzheimer’s disease, Tuberculosis) in resource-limited settings. We also work with local and international clinicians to validate the assay’s performance for future clinical translation.

We aim to develop a portable in vitro diagnostic assay using nanopore technology for rapid diagnosis and treatment monitoring of diseases with high prevalence (e.g., HIV, Alzheimer’s disease, Tuberculosis) in resource-limited settings. We also work with local and international clinicians to validate the assay’s performance for future clinical translation.

Created by Roberto Gambarini