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Smartphone Aptasensor Breathalyser for Detection of Infectious Diseases

The University of Newcastle

Grant:
  • RNA Future Leaders Program
Date Funded:
  • 3 August, 2021
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Dr. Renee Goreham

Project Summary

The development of a portable aptasensor breathalyser for the detection of infectious diseases.

The main researcher for this project is Dr Renee Goreham.

What is the issue for NSW?

The aim of this project is to identify novel aptamers that can be incorporated into a aptasensor breathalyser for detection of SARS-CoV-2. RNA-based therapeutics, such as aptamers for specific targeting is an emerging area but current aptamer selection can take months or years. The PhD candidate will optimise a method for identification of aptamers and engineer a device using nanotechnology. The resulting aptasensor will be adapted to a portable device for a smartphone, which can be translated to other areas of detection research within the health sector.

What does the research aim to do and how?

The research aims to optimise formulation of nanoparticles with two immune active molecules. Initial testing will be conducted in immune cells (macrophages) in cell culture (in vitro). Nanoparticles will be designed to stimulate an immune receptor on the cell surface as well as deliver an RNA molecule into the cell that will further boost macrophage anti-tumour activity. We will thenĀ  use in vivo models to identify dosing regimen by which immune stimulating nanoparticles safely achieve the best stimulation of tumour associated immune cells and reduction in tumour size.