• DNA Devices for Early Breast Cancer Detection

    Project keywords

    DNA methylation, Epigenetics, Surface Plasmon Resonance, Electrochemistry

    Project summary

    Every 3 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite the increasing incidence of breast cancer in the Western world, death rates have been decreasing since 1990. This is the result of treatment advances, increased awareness and early detection. It is widely accepted that early detection results in much higher survival rates, but it is proving difficult to detect the cancer in its early stages. In this project, we aim to develop a simple device for the early detection of breast cancer by monitoring changes on DNA methylation biomarkers. Detection approach is based on gold-DNA affinity interactions, which provide a new capability of detecting DNA methylation by simply monitoring the relative adsorption of DNA samples derived from breast cancer cells onto a gold substrate. The Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) or electrochemical readouts will be used.  

    This interdisciplinary project will provide an opportunity for students to acquire diverse skills in chemistry, molecular biology and bioengineering.

    (For details see Anal. Chem. 2014 86, 10179-10185; Chem. Commun. 2014, 50, 13153-13156; Analyst,2014, 139, 6178-6184)

    Project contacts

    Lead investigator Dr. Laura G. Carrascosa  Dr Muhammad J. A. Shiddiky Prof Matt Trau
    Research group Trau Group
    Contact email lgcarrascosa@uq.edu.au , m.shiddiky@uq.edu.au . m.trau@uq.edu.au

     

    DNA methylation, Epigenetics, Surface Plasmon Resonance, Electrochemistry
  • DNA Nanomachinery for Early Breast Cancer Detection

    Project keywords

    non-coding (nc) RNAs, DNA nanomachinery, Surface Plasmon Resonance, Electrochemistry

    Project summary

    Subsets of non-coding (nc) RNAs serve as potential biomarkers of diseases. Our group is designing, developing and evaluating novel DNA nanomachinery to perform tasks that are currently beyond the reach of existing molecular readout technologies. In this project, we aim to use these nanomachines as a new technology platform to rapidly detect ncRNA biomarkers in samples derived from breast cancer patients using electrochemical or optical read-outs. This interdisciplinary project will provide an opportunity for students to acquire diverse skills in chemistry, molecular biology and bioengineering.

    Project contacts

    Lead investigator Dr. Laura G. CarrascosaProf Matt Trau
    Research group Trau Group                                            
    Contact email lgcarrascosa@uq.edu.au; m.trau@uq.edu.au

     

    non-coding (nc) RNAs, DNA nanomachinery, Surface Plasmon Resonance, Electrochemistry
  • Electrochemical Multiplexed Devices for Cancer Biomarker Analysis

    Project keywords

    Microfabricated devices, Multiplexed detection,  High-throughput analysis, Electrochemistry

    Project summary

    Microfabricated device coupled with electrochemical detection has become an enabling technology for point-of-care and personalized diagnostics due to its capabilities of simplicity, portability, low cost and their performance of multiplexed and quantitative measurements, ideally in a high-troughput format.

    In this project, we aim to fabricate multiplexed devices containing microelectrodes with different planar and three-dimensional (3D) geometries, which integrates all these capabilities in one device. These devices will be tested to analyze different molecular biomarkers (i.e, DNA, microRNA, proteins, etc) in biological/clinical samples.  

    Students will achieve hands on experience in the design, fabrication and application of the microfluidic devices and electrochemical microbiosensors.

    Project contacts

    Lead investigator Muhammad J. A. Shiddiky; Prof Matt Trau    
    Research group Trau Group
    Contact email m.shiddiky@uq.edu.au; m.trau@uq.edu.au
    Microfabricated devices, Multiplexed detection, High-throughput analysis, Electrochemistry
  • Microfluidic Strategy for Circulating Tumour Cells Analysis in Cancer Patients

    Project keywords

    Cancer Diagnostics, Circulating tumor cells, Electrohydrodynamics, Microfluidics

    Project summary

    With cancer mortality rates continuing to rise, the national impact of the cancer is beginning to overwhelm healthcare services. The progression of cancer in patients is characterized by cells that invade locally and metastasize to nearby tissues or travel through the blood stream to set up colonies in the other parts of the body. These cells, accounting for 1-100 cells in about a million peripheral blood mononuclear cells, are known as circulating tumour cells (CTCs). Development of advanced technology for capturing CTCs in blood in the early stage of the metastasis process would be transformative in the treatment of cancer. This project strives to build and test a microfluidic device with the capacity to enable selective capture and sensitive detection of CTCs by incorporating three-dimensional microstructured electrodes within the detection/capture domain of the device.

    Project contacts

    Lead investigator Dr Muhammad J. A. Shiddiky ; Prof Matt Trau  
    Research group Trau Group
    Contact email m.shiddiky@uq.edu.au; m.trau@uq.edu.au

     

    Cancer Diagnostics, Circulating tumor cells, Electrohydrodynamics, Microfluidics
  • Nanoshearing Devices for Exosome Detection

    Project keywords

    Cancer Diagnostics, Exosomes, Electrohydrodynamics, Microfluidics

    Project summary

    With health expenditure continuing to rise ($4.5 billion in direct health system costs within Australia), there is an urgent need for new biomarkers and technologies to personalise cancer treatment and to make treatments more effective. Further, it is also important that effective molecular screening technologies for early detection of biomarkers be employed to improve patient survival. One biomarker with excellent potential is the presence of exosomes in body fluids such as blood, urine and saliva, which has been shown to carry molecular information representative of the parent cell or tumour. Unlike other blood-based markers such as circulating tumor cells (1-100 cells/mL of blood), exosomes are generally present in large numbers in body fluids and represent a simple and non-invasive source of actually profiling blood, that may potentially correlate with the tumour. Recently, we discovered a physical phenomenon referred to as tunable “nanoshearing”, which allows exquisite control of nanoscopic fluid flow engendered within a nanometers of an electrode surface and provides a new capability to physically capture and/or displace non-specifically bound species. This project will employ this newly discovered phenomenon to specifically isolate, detect, and characterise exosomes in cancer patients.

    This translational-focused interdisciplinary project combines the latest developments in microfludics platform and cellular/molecular genetics with cutting edge nanobiotechnology and will provide an opportunity for students to acquire diverse skills in engineering, chemistry, molecular biology and bioengineering.

    Project contacts

    Lead investigator Dr Muhammad J. A. Shiddiky; Prof Matt Trau 
    Research group Trau Group
    Contact email m.shiddiky@uq.edu.au; m.trau@uq.edu.au

     

    Cancer Diagnostics, Exosomes, Electrohydrodynamics, Microfluidics
  • Point-of-Care Diagnostics

    Project keywords

    Point-of-Care, Molecular diagnostics, Molecular biology, Chemistry, Biotechnology

    Project summary

    Point-of-care (POC) diagnostics have the potential to revolutionize global health care by enabling diseases to be rapidly diagnosed ‘on the spot’ using minimal specialized infrastructure. POC strategies need to be highly sensitive, specific, practical, cost effective and portable if they are to be used in resource limited settings. We are focused on novel and simple molecular assays to generate new POC diagnostic technologies. Students will be involved in designing, developing and evaluating methods to rapidly detect pathogenic DNA with minimal equipment or using "everyday" devices such as mobile phones. This interdisciplinary project will provide an opportunity to acquire diverse skills in chemistry, molecular biology, bioengineering, and biotechnology.

    Project contacts

    Lead investigator Professor Matt Trau & Dr Eugene Wee
    Research group Trau Group
    Contact email m.trau@uq.edu.au, j.wee@uq.edu.au

     

    Point-of-Care, Molecular diagnostics, Molecular biology, Chemistry, Biotechnology
  • Rapid and Multiplexed Point-of-Care Diagnosis with Rational Designed Plasmonic Nanoassemblies

    Project keywords

    surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, biomarker, multiplex, Plasmonic nanoassemblies, rapid, point-of-care diagnosis

    Project summary

    The central aim of this project is to develop a novel technology/sensor platform for rapid and ultrasensitive detection of multiple biomarkers for breast cancer from simulated body fluids and in clinic by magnetic pulling-down immunoassay using rational designed, tailor-made surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) active super plamsonic nanostructures in a miniaturised flow-through system. 3D plasmonic superstructures as novel SERS labels will be rationally designed and characterised at single-particle level. Tumor biomarkers for breast cancer will be employed as the model target for establishing the detection platform in a portable configuration for point-of-care diagnostics.

    Project contacts

    Lead investigator Dr Yuling Wang; Prof Matt Trau
    Research group Trau Group
    Contact email m.trau@uq.edu.au, y.wang27@uq.edu.au
    surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, biomarker, multiplex, Plasmonic nanoassemblies, rapid, point-of-care diagnosis
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