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Entropically programmable DNA-based bioSensors for personalized medicine

Project description

Novel DNA-based biosensors in clinical diagnosis

High-precision medicine requires the accurate measurement of clinically relevant biomolecules in real time. However, there are still bioengineering challenges associated with the sensors used presently in bioanalytical chemistry. The EU-funded Entropic DNA Sensors project aims to generate novel biosensors with improved and predictable performance. The work will focus on the binding properties of DNA-based bioreceptors and lead to a novel design that allows the measurement of various molecules in complex biological fluids. Importantly, the generated biosensors will not require calibration, and they will offer a user-friendly readout mode that can be employed in clinical practice.


My proposed program consists in a 2-year research activity at the forefront of bioengineering, aiming at the development of Entropically programmable DNA-based bioSensors for high-precision medicine (Entropic DNA Sensors). Biosensors have achieved a significant feat in bioanalytical chemistry and translational science: high-frequency, real-time and quantitative measurements of clinically relevant molecules in vitro, and in vivo. Despite their advantages, our ability to precisely control and regulate the binding activity of their bioreceptors (i.e. the recognition element) still represents a highly relevant bioengineering challenge and limitation. Indeed, the fully control of bioreceptor’s binding properties would allow the design of new biosensors with improved and predictable analytical performance. In Entropic DNA Sensors I propose a multidisciplinary, innovative, and versatile approach based on a purely naturally inspired entropic allostery mechanism which allows to finely tune the activity and the response of synthetic bioreceptors. Specifically, my goal is to further explore our ability to rationally design intrinsically disordered domains into classic DNA-based bioreceptors so as to improve their useful dynamic range. Then, I will adapt these intrinsically disordered bioreceptors into an electrochemical read-out modality that supports the real-time, multi-hour, high-frequency, calibration-free measurements of clinically relevant molecules (i.e. doxorubicin, glucose, phenylalanie) directly in complex biological fluids in vitro. Finally, I will test them in simulated clinical scenarios to demonstrate their ability to reach personalized medicine. To achieve this goal I will leverage my experience in In vivo biosensing and Point-of-care (PoC) testing technologies with the recognized expertise in Functional DNA nanotechnology and Synthetic biology of Prof. Francesco Ricci at University of Rome Tor Vergata (UNITOV-Rome, Italy).


Net EU contribution
€ 183 473,28
00133 Roma

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Centro (IT) Lazio Roma
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 183 473,28