Nanoscale Beta-Lactamase Sensor
Todd D. Giorgio, PhD
Charleson Bell, PhD
Brief Description of Project:
Our lab is interested in developing a sensor of beta-lactamase activity that can be carried out by unaided visual observation. The eventual application is instrument-free sensing of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. We have designed a sensor based on gold nanoparticles that are cross-linked by a beta-lactamase cleavable bridge. We anticipate that, in the presence of beta-lactamase activity, microscale aggregates will be dispersed into nanoscale objects, producing a color change observable by eye under white light over a range of normal intensities. The project involves the manipulation of bacterial cultures and the organic synthetic chemistry of the beta-lactamase/gold nanoparticle sensor. Performance testing will be carried out using optical instrumentation and by photography.
Highly motivated students interested in research that involves aspects of organic chemistry, microbiology, and nanoscale optical sensing. A background in chemistry is highly recommended. Previous knowledge/experience with microbiology methods is also desired, but not required.
Nature of Supervision:
The undergraduate researcher will have the opportunity to meet at least once per week with the PI to discuss progress and next steps. Hands-on lab training and support will be provided by a research assistant professor who will serve as the mentor and primary point of contact.
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
Phase 1 involves the fundamental laboratory skills associated with microbiology methods and beta-lactamase detection using a commercial kit based on optical sensing. Phase 2 involves the design and synthesis of a sensor based on gold nanoparticles and a beta-lactamase cleavable target. Phase 3 involves quantitative assessment of beta-lactamase sensing using the novel nanoscale construct.
Number of Open Slots: 1
Name: Todd Giorgio
Department: Biomedical Engineering