This project aims to reinforce the research excellence of the German Institute of Photonic Technology through knowledge sharing with incoming top-class Australian researcher Dr Stephen Warren-Smith to work in Europe on research in the vibrant field of proteomic sensing.
Proteomics, the study of proteins and their function, is a powerful technique that can be used as a diagnostic tool for various human diseases. Currently, samples must either be extracted from easily accessible fluids such as blood or from invasive biopsy samples. There is an urgent need for techniques that can perform measurements on samples that are difficult to access, such as uterine fluid, without invasive surgery.
We propose to develop highly sensitive micro-interferometers and micro-resonators integrated in optical fibres as miniaturized sensing elements for protein detection in medical applications. This will be achieved by combining sensitive resonance effects, such as a Fabry-Perot interferometer, in conjunction with specific antibodies. Such sensors have already proven successful in physical sensing, such as temperature and strain, and are now in prime position to be extended to the application of biomedical diagnostics. This project will advance these sensors by theoretically and experimentally investigating multi-channel sensors for the purpose of multiplexing biomarkers. This is a critical step for biosensing as it is rare that measuring a single biomarker, without controls, can provide a definitive diagnosis. To demonstrate a specific application the detection of proteomic endometrial biomarkers in difficult to access uterine fluid will be targeted.
This project aims to reach a level of maturity where the biomarkers can be tested in a clinical trial in a subsequent project. This will provide an opportunity for continued engagement between Australia and Germany to address this significant challenge.
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