Project Details


While there are many methods and devices for detection of nucleic acids in vitro and in vivo, no general solution has emerged that provides simple, rapid, nucleotide sequence selective quantification of nucleic acids. A highly sensitive, highly selective nucleic acid biosensor based on a competitive equilibrium between a probe and a target nucleic acid in conjunction with a newly developed instrument will be developed. The nucleic acid biosensor, founded on a novel thermodynamic formalism for describing the interactions of a duplex probe with its target, provides means for sensitive, highly selective quantification of the target.

Successful development of the competitive equilibrium nucleic acid biosensor will provide scientists with the means to detect and quantify, at high sensitivity, any nucleic acid with single base nucleotide sequence selectivity. Further development of sensitive and highly specific nucleic acid biosensors is critical for fully exploiting the rich genomic information resulting from the sequencing of the genomes of myriad microorganisms, plants and animals, including humans. In addition, recent discoveries about the regulation of gene expression by small ribonucleic acid molecules operating at the level of messenger RNA have vastly increased the number and variety of nucleic acids that must be identified, detected and quantified if one is to understand, and potentially modulate, a range of critical biological processes; including, but not limited to development, apoptosis, stress response and differentiation. The nucleic acid biosensor developed here will yield the requisite experimental capacity to detect and characterize biological targets for diagnostic applications, as well as for basic knowledge/understanding of biological regulatory mechanisms.

Effective start/end date9/15/108/31/15


  • National Science Foundation: $350,003.00


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