Analytical Chemistry Research
Immunochemistry/Biosensor Research Highlights
Immunoassays use antibodies to bind to the analyte of interest and a variety of labels are used to detect this binding (e.g. colorimetric, fluorescent, chemiluminescent, radioisotopes). The most common form is the enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Although these assays use a ‘biological’ reagent – the antibody – the assays are not bioassays, but rather an analytical method that is governed by the Law of Mass Action. An advantage of immunoassay, is that it is rapid and cost effective, particularly when there are large numbers of samples to run. The assays are adaptable to many forms including tube assays, 96-well microtiter plates, or high throughput analyzers as well as more complex microarrays or biosensors.
The focus of the research is to develop tools to monitor human and environmental exposure to environmental contaminants. Such contaminants include pesticides, industrial chemicals or their byproducts, and personal care products. Because we are interested in both human and environmental monitoring, we typically develop a library of assays to cover the parent compound, environmental breakdown products and mammalian (human) metabolites. With human monitoring we are particularly interested in metabolites that are excreted in the urine, as urine sampling is quite easy. These metabolites could then be used as biomarkers of exposure. In the event that information about metabolism is unclear we can use accelerator mass spectrometry as a highly sensitive method to detect metabolites in urine and blood. Once the metabolites are identified, assays can then be selectively developed. Since monitoring studies result in large numbers of samples to be analyzed improving throughput is important. Toward this goal, we have adapted assays to clinical analyzers and have made progress in multiplexing assays on multifunctional nanoparticles. The nanoparticles are utilized in a flow through microchannel device that can be designed for portability.
Skills and Accomplishments
Current Research Projects