Kilpatrick Lecture: Sensor Science and Technology



MTCC Auditorium

The Department of Chemistry's 2022 Kilpatrick Lecture will be held at 4 p.m. on September 23 in the MTCC Auditorium, and will feature two guest speakers on topics related to sensor science and technology:

  • Yi Lu, Robert J. V. Johnson-Welch Regents Chair in Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin
  • John A. Rogers, Louis Simpson and Kimberly Querrey Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Medicine and Director of the Querrey-Simpson Institute for Bioelectronics at Northwestern University

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Lu will present "Advancing Metallomics, Metabolomics and Pathogen Detections using Functional DNA Nanotechnology":

  • Much progress has been made to detect DNA, RNA and proteins in environmental monitoring, medical diagnoses and imaging. In contrast, much less is developed to detect metal ions and metabolites, even if they play important roles in human health. Unlike DNA/RNA or protein detections where a complementary DNA/RNA strand or an antibody can be used to recognize the targets, respectively, obtaining sensors that can recognize metal ions and metabolites selectively is much more challenging. Similarly, while measuring DNA/RNA is a common method to detect pathogens such as viruses, such sensor cannot tell whether the pathogens are infectious or not, which often result in delayed diagnosis and difficulty to mitigate the spread of the pathogens, including SARS-Cov-2.  To meet these challenges, we have been using in vitro selection to obtain DNAzymes and aptamers, collectively called functional DNAs, that are specific for either a metal ion, a metabolite or an intact pathogen from a large DNA library of up to 1015 sequences and use counter selection to remove interferences from competing targets, such as a target with a similar structure or a pathogen that has been rendered noninfectious by UV light or chemical disinfectants. We have also converted these DNAzymes and aptamers into fluorescent, colorimetric and electrochemical sensors by conjugating them with different nanomaterials or device such as upconversion nanoparticles and nanopore. These nanosensors have allowed us to monitor different metal ions, metabolites and infectivity of pathogens in the environment, at point of care and in living cells and mice.  These advances in metallomics, metabolomics and pathogen detections fill a major gap in modern human health and medicine by providing complementary information from genomics and proteomics. Together, they will result in much more accurate diagnosis and understanding of many diseases.

Rogers will present “Soft Electronic and Microfluidic Sensor Systems for the Human Body":

  • Biological systems are mechanically soft, with complex, time-dependent 3D curvilinear shapes; modern electronic and microfluidic technologies are rigid, with simple, static 2D layouts. Eliminating this profound mismatch in physical properties will create vast opportunities in man-made systems that can intimately integrate with the human body, for diagnostic, therapeutic or surgical function with important, unique capabilities in fitness/wellness, sports performance and clinical healthcare. Over the last decade, a convergence of new concepts in chemistry, materials science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and advanced manufacturing has led to the emergence of diverse classes of 'biocompatible' electronic and microfluidic systems with skin-like physical properties. This talk describes the key ideas and presents some of the most recent device examples, including wireless, battery-free electronic 'tattoos' with applications in continuous monitoring of vital signs in neonatal and pediatric intensive care; and microfluidic/electronic platforms that can capture, manipulate and perform biomarker analysis on microliter volumes of sweat, with applications in sports and fitness.


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