Portable nanofluidic aptamer-SERS instrument for measurement of chemical exposure

Period of Performance: 02/01/2017 - 01/31/2018


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Biotex, Inc.
Principal Investigator


? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The goal of this NIH-SBIR Phase II effort is to develop a new point-of-care (POC) detection platform and methodology for assessment of human exposure to hazardous environmental compounds in the bloodstream. Because the mechanisms of transport of such chemicals into the body, their differing stabilities, and elimination are difficult to model, it is much more straightforward to assay for these compounds in the body rather than in the environment. The primary innovations in our approach are that a novel optical micro-to-nano-fluidic device will be used along with unique aptamers and Raman reporter molecules to simultaneously measure several classes of compounds in a multiplexed fashion. The opto-fluidic device is an extremely sensitive surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) nanochannel cartridge that was invented at Texas A&M University by professors Jun Kameoka and Gerard Coté. The aptamer functionalization chemistry as well as the overall integrated product will be developed at BioTex, Inc. with aptamers discovered at sister company, Base Pair Biotechnologies. The device being developed provides signal enhancements equal to or exceeding 1014 at the entrance to the nanochannel, enabling rapid quantitation of femtomolar or smaller levels of targets in fluids. As demonstrated in Phase I, the individual components of the system have been thoroughly tested, and the Phase II study will therefore focus on the engineering integration and demonstration of overall system performance. The resonant-SERS reporting and nanofluidic concentrator employed have the potential to provide orders-of-magnitude improved sensitivity over standard fluorescence and without the complicated multistep tasks of ELISA or full analytical chemistry analysis such as chromatography and mass spectrometry. Using aptamers to virtually any environmental compound of concern, the fully-developed platform will be able to provide quantitative point-of-care or field results in a matter of minutes.