Paper-Based Biosensors

Disposable tests for rapid diagnostics

We are developing biosensors that enable detecting proteins and pathogens with a piece of filter paper. Paper is the ideal material for developing diagnostic tests because it is cheap and disposable, and can easily retain biomolecules by physical adsorption. Furthermore, paper is very light, and therefore paper-based biosensors can be couriered to remote locations at low cost, which is important for decentralized healthcare schemes. Paper is also a porous matrix that enables fluid transport via capillary forces, a feature that can be harnessed to develop paper-based fluidic devices.

In our lab we are transforming pieces of filter paper into optical transducers by printing patterns with a conventional tonner printer. We are also producing origami biosensors that enable amplifying colorimetric signals by simply folding the paper following a predetermined design. We have demonstrated the detection of protein and pathogen biomarkers within 30 minutes using a piece of paper as the assay substrate.

We are currently studying the fabrication of paper-based biosensors that only require adding a drop of sample in order to yield colorimetric signals as a function of the concentration of the target molecule. We aim at applying these analytical platforms for the rapid detection of sepsis biomarkers in collaboration with Dr. Marcio Borges (Son Llàtzer Hospital).