Bioengineered Nanosensors

Multifunctional nanoparticles decorated with proteins for biosensing

We modify nanoparticles with proteins in order to endow them with biomolecular functions such as biorecognition and biocatalysis, and to obtain nanoparticle assemblies with tailored physical properties. We also generate new functions such as self-propulsion by asymmetrically patterning the nanoparticles with biomolecules.

We have developed a method for preparing Janus particles covered with enzymes that allows the colloids to move relative to the concentration of enzyme substrate. This approach can generate a mechanical force that disrupts biomolecular interactions depending on chemical cues in the environment. We have also proposed the self-assembly of gold nanoparticles with the biotin-binding proteins avidin, neutravidin and streptavidin. The assemblies show new near-infrared localized surface plasmon resonances and retain the biomolecular recognition capabilities of the proteins. Furthermore, the assemblies can be programmed to reconfigure into smaller clusters depending on external signals such as changes in the pH of the solution or the presence of thiolated molecules.

We are also interested in substituting antibodies for biomimetic approaches to enable the rapid and ultra-robust detection of bacteria at the point of care.