Label-free detection of proteins

Year 2002
Project team Scott R. Manalis and Alexander M. Klibanov

A new approach to detection

Whereas enormous strides have been made in detecting the makeup of DNA, the ability to selectively detect proteins remains fairly limited. This project aims to change that, by developing a label-free electrical method of protein detection. If successful, it could be used for everything from diagnosing human disease to studying the dynamics of cellular signaling pathways. Label-free detection of biomolecules is currently receiving intense attention due to the clear advantages it offers over fluorescent methods. These researchers are pursuing a label-free protein detection method based upon field-effect detection-a technique that has been used for DNA, but not yet for proteins. If they are successful, they will develop arrays of sensors for the purpose of high-throughput parallel detection, and examine the generality of their findings for various diverse proteins. Ultimately, both major classes of biomolecules-proteins as well as DNA-could be detectable with unprecedented speed and facility by electrical means.