Plasmonic Nanobiosensors: From Therapeutic Drug and Environmental Monitoring to Optophysiology of Living Cells

12:00pm - 1:00pm / Thursday 11th April 2019 / Venue: Seminar Room 2 Life Sciences Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Research
  • Suitable for: Staff and students with an interest in Biochemistry
  • Admission: Free
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Speaker: Jean-François Masson (University of Montreal)

This presentation will provide an overview of our research activities in plasmonic nanobiosensing. Our research lies in the areas of plasmonic materials, low-fouling surface chemistry and instrumental design for biosensing. This presentation will focus on applying these concepts for several classes of sensors for monitoring biomolecules, therapeutic drugs, pheromones and for environmental contaminants. We have developed a SPR and LSPR sensing platform based on a small and portable instrument that can be field-deployed. In the first example, this SPR chip was integrated with a RDX-selective molecularly imprinted polymer to detect RDX at ppb levels directly in natural waters. The system was deployed to a Canadian army base for monitoring the level of RDX in proximity of training grounds. This system was tested on several trips in different environmental conditions and results were in good agreement with HPLC performed in a laboratory. Clinical sensing in crude biofluids is a common challenge to different biosensing platforms. To prevent nonspecific adsorption of serum, a series of peptide monolayers were synthesized and tested in crude serum. Based on this, competition assays were validated for therapeutic drug quantitation, such as methotrexate with the SPR sensors. The methotrexate assay was tested at a local hospital and was cross-validated with the current state-of-the-art FPIA analyzer commercially available. Lastly, we are currently exploring the concept of optophysiology using plasmonic nanopipettes for monitoring living cell secretion events. Due to the lack of analytical techniques for detecting metabolites near living cells, developing tools to monitor cell secretion events remains a challenge to overcome in chemical analysis. Plasmonic nanopipettes were developed based on the decoration of patch clamp nanocapillaries with Au nanoparticles. The plasmonic nanopipette is thus competent for dynamic SERS measurements in the liquid environment near cells. This nanobiosensor was tested with the detection of small metabolites near living cells and of neurotransmitters released by neurons.

Brief Biography:
Jean-François Masson is full professor of Chemistry at the Université de Montréal. He is a graduate of Arizona State University (PhD) and Georgia Tech (postdoc). His expertise encompasses biosensing with plasmonic materials, instrument development, surface chemistry to minimize biofouling and detection of proteins and drugs directly in crude biofluids. He has published more than 90 research articles and his research has led to filing 9 patents on diverse instrumental, materials or surface chemistry innovations for biosensing. He is the founder and president of Affinité Instruments, a start-up company commercializing SPR instrumentation. Jean-Francois received several awards including the Tomas Hirschfeld award (2005), a NSERC discovery accelerator (2011), the Fred Beamish award of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (2013), and an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship, Germany, (2013-2014) for research at the Max-Planck Institute. He is currently an Associate Editor for the Analyst of RSC publishing. He also serves on several international boards, including for the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies (FACSS), the conference SciX, and he is the Vice-President of the Analytical Division of the Canadian Society of Chemistry.