Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Automation & Microfluidics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Biosensors: A Handy Kit

Published: Friday, May 13, 2011
Last Updated: Friday, May 13, 2011
Bookmark and Share
A silicon-based microfluidic chip that distinguishes different viral strains shows potential for the quick on-site diagnosis of infectious diseases.

The control of infectious diseases such as the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza hinges on handy analytical tools that can rapidly and accurately identify infected patients at the doctor’s office or at an airport.

For this reason, there has been much interest in technologies that could enable replacement of the bulky instruments used at present with point-of-care testing devices.

Linus Tzu-Hsiang Kao and co-workers at the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics and the Genome Institute of Singapore have now developed a silicon-based microfluidic system that is able to sense and differentiate the H1N1 virus from other seasonal influenza strains in ultrasmall specimens.

The detection and characterization of viral strains is now routinely performed using an assay method called real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), a method that typically calls for specialized laboratory instruments and skilled personnel.

Kao’s team, however, was able to integrate the PCR function into a compact two-module microfluidic chip using standard semiconductor technology. “The system will be suitable for use as a portable diagnostic tool for on-the-spot screening of highly contagious viruses, such as the influenza A H1N1 strain,” says Kao.

Because untreated influenza samples usually contain minute amounts of viral RNA mixed with other nucleic acids and proteins, the researchers designed an ‘on-chip’ PCR module that amplifies target sequences for both H1N1 and seasonal viruses at the same time.

The key to their compact screening technology, however, is the silicon-nanowire sensing module used for virus identification. The nanowires in the module are modified with nucleic acid-containing polymers that specifically bind the target DNA, which results in a change in electrical resistance in proportion to the concentration of target DNA present in the sample.

The team fabricated the PCR module, which includes a reaction chamber connected to small aluminum heaters and temperature sensors through tiny channels, directly into a silicon chip using an etching technique. They then constructed the silicon nanowires by optical lithography and finally immobilized the nucleic acid-containing polymers.

Experiments revealed that the small size of the PCR chamber gave it a uniform temperature distribution (see image), providing an ideal environment for efficient RNA amplification. The PCR module also responded much faster to heating/cooling cycles than standard instruments because of the small sample volume-leading to quicker diagnoses.

The team is currently planning to improve the sample extraction module. “We are in the process of building a fully automated and integrated prototype, which will allow us to proceed to clinical validation with our collaborators,” says Kao.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Microdroplet Reactors Mimic Living Systems
Researchers use microdroplets to study non-equilibrium reactions like those in living organisms.
Toxicity Testing With Cultured Liver Cells
Microreactor replaces animal testing.
Study Validates Analysis of Copy Number Variation in Miniaturized Reaction Volumes
Data shows that accurate and reproducible CNV results can be produced with IntelliQube using the Array Tape® consumable.
Spotlight on Acoustic Liquid Handling
Journal of Laboratory Automation special issue highlights how acoustic liquid handling enables breakthrough innovations.
Organs on Chips
Combining 3D cell culture with microfluidics, organs-on-chips could revolutionize toxicology testing for pharmaceuticals, foods, cosmetics, pesticides, and industrial chemicals.
Finding the Needle in a Microbial Haystack
After developing a novel investigational technology called PathoChip that can rapidly identify elusive microorganisms, a team of Penn Medicine researchers recently succeeded for the first time in identifying a pathogen in a patient sample, demonstrating the proof of principle that this technology can be used to identify pathogens in human disease.
Organ-on-a-Chip
In a step toward personalized drug testing, researchers coax human stem cells to form complex tissues.
Diagnosing Cancer from a Single Drop of Blood
What if a physician could effectively diagnose cancer from one drop of a patient’s blood?
Study Reveals Shared Behavior of Microbes And Electrons
Bacteria streaming through a lattice behave like electrons in a magnetic material.
Study Reveals Shared Behavior of Microbes and Electrons
Bacteria streaming through a lattice behave like electrons in a magnetic material.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!