Our research program is comprised of both fundamental and applicational aspects of biosensor research. The main objective of our research involves the design of folding-based electrochemical biosensors, with the goal of developing a portable real-time biosensor for point-of-care diagnosis. Our sensing strategy is to link ligand-induced folding in biopolymers (e.g. peptides, nucleic acids) to a robust, electrochemical signaling mechanism (Figure 1). Unlike most optical-based biosensors, these sensors are reagentless, reusable, and insensitive to non-specific interactions of contaminants, thus allowing them to be employed directly in realistically complex media such as blood serum and urine.

Our research also encompasses the engineering of new or improved protein scaffolds (e.g. periplasmic binding protein, calmodulin) for biosensor applications. Part of our research effort is to further understand protein-electrode interactions, with the aim at improving sensor performance and stability. We are also interested in exploring various electrode materials (e.g. carbon, indium tin oxide), in particular, materials that are compatible with the fabrication of low-cost, high-quality sensor arrays.




Linear, redox modified DNA probes as electrochemical DNA sensors, Francesco Ricci, Rebecca Lai, and Kevin W. Plaxco



Rapid, sequence-specific detection of unpurified PCR amplicons via a reusable, electrochemical sensor, Rebecca Lai, Eric T. Hagally, Sang-Ho Lee, H. T. Soh, Kevin W. Plaxco, and Alan J. Heeger


α,ω-Dithiol Oligo(phenylene vinylene)s for the Preparation of High-Quality π-Conjugated Self-Assembled Monolayers and Nanoparticle-Functionalized Electrodes, Dwight S. Seferos, Rebecca Lai, Kevin W. Plaxco, and Guillermo C. Bazan



Selective Determination of Methylmercury by Flow-Injection Fast-Scan Voltammetry, Rebecca Lai, Eva Huang, Feimeng Zhou, and David O. Wipf