Photoelectrochemical biosensing for COVID-19: virus and antibodies
This project aims to develop an efficient antibody sensor, as preventive measure for detection of infections caused by COVID19. It addresses a problem of crucial importance for Canada and for Solstar Pharma, a Canadian company which focuses on research & development of antimicrobial, anti-viral and anti-cancer agents for the treatment of life-threatening diseases.
Our objective is to develop a Photoelectrochemical (PEC) biosensor based on photoactive nanoparticles such as Quantum Dots (QDs) for the detection of COVID19 and related antibodies. Highly efficient QDs based on engineered core/multi-shelled structures will be developed and their interaction with the molecular recognition element (MRE) layer it will be investigated. An in-depth study of the QDs-MRE ligands structure vs. properties will be pursued, to improve efficiency (by reducing recombination events) and the sensitivity of the biosensor by exploiting the synergistic effect of QD photoactive materials and MRE surface functionalization. To develop a consistent structure-property picture of virus and antibody detection, we will study the relationship between QD-ligands structures and detection performance, to realize a new PEC biosensor that can used in different conditions, under specific types of lighting (sunlight or low-power diodes).
This research will be conducted in close collaboration between the Solstar Pharma R&D team and Prof. Rosei who will be assisted by one postdoctoral fellow during the whole duration of the project. The expected impact and outcome will be the realization of a PEC biosensor for detecting COVID antibodies. In particular, the final miniaturized, low-cost and highly sensitive biosensor will have a major positive impact on Canada’s health sector and economy.