Principal Investigator: Prof. Dana Alsulaiman

Poster Presenter: Daisy Ferrera, Muhsin Ali

Lab: BioMAD Lab


Next-generation Electrochemical Biosensors for microRNA Biomarker Detection based on Peptide Nucleic Acid-functionalized 2D Nanomaterials




MicroRNAs have emerged as highly promising ‘liquid biopsy’ biomarkers for cancer; however, their low concentrations and high sequence homology make them challenging to detect reliably, even with gold-standard techniques like RT-qPCR. There is thus an urgent need to develop simple and robust microRNA biosensors that offer high performance while being amenable for point-of-care testing. This poster will present two platforms for electrochemical detection of microRNA based on the specificity of Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNA) probes and the sensitivity of advanced conductive 2D nanomaterials. PNAs are synthetic analogs of DNA or RNA that offer greater stability, sequence specificity, and resistance to degradation when compared to their natural oligonucleotide counterparts. Using solid phase peptide synthesis methods, we have prepared bespoke PNA probes with two types of functionalities enabling either bio-orthogonal click chemistry or π-π stacking on the biosensing surface. When applied to the detection of miR-141, a promising biomarker for prostate cancer, both biosensors demonstrated attomolar sensitivity, single-nucleotide specificity, and a large dynamic range. With their outstanding performance, time efficiency, and amplification-free nature, the platforms exhibit significant potential to enable the next generation of minimally-invasive cancer diagnostic tools.