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A biological nanoactuator as a molecular switch for biosensing


We seek to provide Europe with a major time advantage over their main international competitors by developing a bionanotechnological device that can be used as a nanoactuator/biosensor, which also provides a novel interface between the Biological and Silicon Worlds. The time advantage is provided by 'picking up' the highly successful Mol Switch Project (IST-2001-38036), in which we were able to show that biological molecular motors could be used as bio-nanoactuators. However, this project will push the frontiers of knowledge and skill by developing a useful generic biosensor/nanoactuator device.

The device will be assembled in a series of stages using independent Modules that each incorporate new technology, or, expand the frontiers of existing technology. A prototype integrated biosensor will be built around this nanoactuator, incorporating the proposed Modules. The switching device within this nanoactuator is provided by a moving magnetic particle, attached to the DNA that is translocated (or 'pulled') by the motor, and a suitable electronic sensor that detects this movement. Integration of these individual components into a single Module will provide a major step forward in the design of Lab-on-a-Chip technology. Therefore, we will seek to develop a microfluidics system that will allow us to incorporate the electronic sensor into a chip-based device.

The project will also focus on the precise location and self-assembly of these motors and their DNA substrates within the microfluidics system to be used. The project will involve partners who will focus on the further development of the electronic sensor. We know of no other bionanotechnological device, which incorporates biological molecular motors to produce moving parts, that is as far advanced as this project offers and, therefore, we believe the project will provide the EU with a significant advance in this area.

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University House Winston Churchill Avenue
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