Summary: Many inorganic materials in nanometer size scale exhibit unique properties that are not only scientifically intriguing but also technologically significant. Gold nanoparticles, in particular, exhibit strong light absorption and scattering properties that can be exploited for biological colorimetric sensing. One of the goals of our research group is to create a rapid and sensitive biosensing platform capable of detecting a wide variety of biomolecules. To accomplish this goal, DNA hybridization reaction based on strand-displacement will be incorporated into the catalytic disassembly of gold nanoparticle aggregates. DNA aptamers will also be used in the scheme to enable detection of certain proteins. This colorimetric detection scheme could be integrated with catalytic network and used as a reporter component in miRNA cancer diagnosis system.

Minimum classes: 2 semesters of general chemistry

Projects: Rapid and sensitive DNA detection through catalytic disassembly of gold nanoparticle aggregates:

The INBRE fellow will chemically synthesize gold nanoparticles and attach oligonucleotides onto nanoparticle surfaces. These functionalized gold nanoparticles will be used to detect the presence and concentration of target DNA. The fellow will learn be trained on a variety of chemistry/biochemistry skills including colloid synthesis, DNA functionalization of inorganic materials, spectroscopy, etc. The fellow will have an opportunity to interact with PhD scientists and graduate students in DNA nanotechnology research group at Boise State.

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