Graduate Seminar with Silu Feng: MEMS Aptamer Sensors for Detecting Plant Chemicals

Date(s) - 15 Jan 2020
1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

3043 ECpE Building Addition

Speaker: Silu Feng, ECpE Graduate Student

Adviser: Long Que

Title: MEMS Aptamer Sensors for Detecting Plant Chemicals

Abstract: Theophylline is the best-known and most commonly-used methylxanthine. At low dosages, it has immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and broncho-protective effects, and higher dosages are needed for its bronchodilator effect. Current widely-used clinical laboratory procedures for serum or plasma theophylline detection include radioimmunoassay, high-performance gas or liquid chromatography, and fluorescence polarization immunoassay. However, these methods require skilled personnel for operation, sample pre-treatment, and long analysis time. These detection approaches also suffer from interference, primarily from chemicals with similar structures such as caffeine and theobromine. As a result, serum/plasma theophylline concentrations can be overestimated. Ideally, new types of sensors with large dynamic range that can rapidly detect theophylline in a simple and inexpensive manner will be developed. Plant hormones are chemical compounds produced in plants that regulate (promote/inhibit) a plant’s physiological processes. On the cellular scale, plant hormones ensure successful life cycles for plants in diverse environments. Given the importance of plant hormones in a plant’s physiological development, it is necessary to conduct in-depth quantitative studies of plant hormones with respect to biosynthesis transport, metabolism, and molecular regulatory mechanisms of plants. While various methods have been developed for detecting and quantifying plant hormones, each one has unavoidable flaws. Classic methods for quantifying plant hormones are liquid- and gas- chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, biological assays, or immunochemical methods such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). Because they usually require skilled personnel and costly long-time analysis, these methods are not ideal. They are also not preferred for use in in vivo detection and measurement of plant hormones. To address these issues, MEMS aptamer sensors have been developed for detecting plant chemicals in buffer and complex fluids. It has been demonstrated that these sensors have very good sensitivity, specificity, and reasonable reusability. Only a small amount (~1μL) of plant extracts or serum samples is required to measure plant chemicals. Its low cost and ease-of-operation make this type of sensor suitable for point-of-care application to monitor both the theophylline and the plant hormones.

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Interested in giving a seminar? Contact Professor Namrata Vaswani.

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