Design and preparation of SAMs for catalytic and bio-sensing applications

Design and preparation of SAMs for catalytic and bio-sensing applications

The development of artificial chemo- and biosensors, discrete molecules that selectively recognize and signal the presence of a specific analyte in a complex matrix, is one of the main achievements of supramolecular chemistry and biochemistry. The intense interest in this field is driven by the growing demand for extremely sensitive and selective analytical tools for the detection and monitoring of various substrates in biological, environmental, and industrial waste samples without the need to label these substrates. In this respect, immobilized chemosensors are of particular importance because they offer the advantage of high sensitivity, stability, reusability and require relatively simple signal-detection techniques. We will utilize SAMs on a surface as catalysts or as highly selective, molecular sensors for studying important interactions in biological objects (DNAs, metalloproteins and antibodies). Immobilization of target molecules will allow us to benefit from the opportunity to better explore particular chemical reactions by directly observing chemical modification of the surface at different stages of the reaction process.
This project will start from the preparation of novel organic SAMs terminated by nitrogen donor ligands on silicon, glass or indium tin oxide (ITO) covered surfaces. We will then modify the organic monolayer through a reaction with suitable metal precursors. In this way, we will probe the ability of simple nitrogeneous ligand terminated SAMs to work as chemosensors for particular metal ions in the solution by colorimetric, fluorescence or electrochemical methods. These surface-anchored metal complexes will be further functionalized by antimicrobial peptides able to bind to bacteria. The selectivity and specificity of this binding will be explored using incorporated metal as redox reporter.

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Available Positions

We are looking for creative and talented students to join us. Research students will be exposed to diverse and interdisciplinary research activities and will gain a theoretical and practical education in various areas, such as organic and organometallic chemistry, materials and surface science.


Dr. Olena Zenkina University of Ontario Institute of Technology 2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, ON L1H 7K4 Science Building, Room 2020

phone: 905.721.8668 ext. 3644