Biomolecular Sensors for Decentralized, Point-of-Need Infectious Disease Diagnosis

Who: Prof. Shana Kelley, Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto, 144 College St., Toronto, Ontario M5S 3M2, Canada

When: September 30, 2020 at 11:30 am

Where: Zoom. Request the link by email.


To put disease-related biomarkers to work in the clinic, new high-performance technologies are needed to enable rapid and sensitive analysis of clinical specimens. Electrochemical methods providing low cost and direct biomarker readout have attracted a great deal of attention for this application. We exploit controlled nanostructuring of electrode surfaces to enhance biomolecular capture rates and efficiencies to solve this long-standing problem, and showed that the nanoscale morphologies of electrode surfaces control their sensitivities. An electrocatalytic reporter system that leverages a pair of redox reagents is used to readout the presence of specific nucleic acids and other analytes bound to electrode surfaces. Recently, we have developed assays that are able to detect nucleic acids, proteins and small molecules, with universally high sensitivity levels. This presentation will highlight how these nanostructured sensors can be applied to the development of automated testing systems for infectious disease diagnosis and the rapid assessment of viral infection.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Shana Kelley is a University Professor at the University of Toronto and a member of the Departments of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering. The Kelley research group works in a variety of areas spanning biophysical/bioanalytical chemistry, chemical biology and nanotechnology, and has pioneered new methods for tracking molecular and cellular analytes with unprecedented sensitivity. Dr. Kelley’s work has been recognized with a variety of distinctions, including being named one of “Canada’s Top 40 under 40”, a NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Fellow, the 2011 Steacie Prize, and the 2016 NSERC Brockhouse Prize. She has also been recognized with the ACS Inorganic Nanoscience Award, the Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award, an NSF CAREER Award, a Dreyfus New Faculty Award, and was also named a “Top 100 Innovator” by MIT’s Technology Review. Dr. Kelley is an inventor on over 50 patents issued worldwide. She is a founder of three molecular diagnostics companies, GeneOhm Sciences (acquired by Becton Dickinson in 2005), Xagenic Inc. (acquired by General Atomics in 2017), and Cellular Analytics. Dr. Kelley is the Director of PRiME, an initiative focused on next-generation Precision Medicine that unites physical scientists, engineers, biologists and clinicians developing new therapeutics and diagnostics. Kelley serves as a Board Director for the Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (FACIT) and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. She is an Associate Editor for ACS Sensors, and an Editorial Advisory Board Member for the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Nano Letters, and ACS Nano.

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