Wed, 22 Mar 2023
Events, Seminar Series

Dr. Karen Faulds

Strath University

Sensitive and Selective Bioanalysis using SERS and SESORS

Wednesday, March 22, 2023
ASB10900 @ 3:30 p.m.

Host: Dr. Gary Leach



Surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is an analytical technique with several advantages over competitive techniques in terms of improved sensitivity and multiplexing. We have made great progress in the development of SERS as a quantitative analytical method. Many bioanalytical detection methods exist, with fluorescence spectroscopy tending to dominate, however SERS has the advantage that it is both sensitive and has the ability to multiplex which is limited when using techniques such as fluorescence. We have developed approaches to both identify and quantify the presence of multiple analytes within a mixture e.g. pathogenic DNA sequences, bacteria using SERS combined with data analysis techniques.

Here we demonstrate the development of new bioanalytical assays based upon SERS which have been used successfully for the detection of bacterial pathogens using modified SERS active probes. Biomolecule functionalised nanoparticles have been designed to give a specific SERS response resulting in discernible differences in the SERS which can be correlated to the presence of specific pathogens. In this presentation the simultaneous detection and quantitation of 3 pathogens within a multiplex sample will be demonstrated. We also explore the use of functionalized nanoparticles for the phenotypic screening of breast cancer cells and to study the effect of drug treatment on receptor status. The uptake of targeted versus non-targeted nanoparticles in breast cancer spheroids using a microfluidics approach will also be discussed. We have also recently published the use of nanoparticles functionalised with resonant Raman reporter molecule for the visualization of a 3D breast cancer tumour models at depth using Spatially Offset Raman combined with SERRS (SESORRS).

Dr. Faulds' Research Interests

Our research focuses on using surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) to create new approaches to bioanalysis for use in the life and clinical sciences.  SERS is a spectroscopic technique that offers significant advantages over other established techniques such as fluorescence and our research has focused on highlighting the advantages, creating new examples of increased capability in life science applications and interacting with end users to shape future step changes in research.  Our research centres around using the inherent sensitivity of SERS for the detection of target DNA or proteins using signal amplification methods to enhance the signal rather than using target amplification methods such as PCR.  Our work has focussed on exploiting the sensitivity of SERS for quantitative analysis of biomolecules as well as exploiting one of the key advantages of SERS, the ability to analyse multiple analytes in one sample.  This allows more information to be gained per analysis as well as giving information about complex systems that are intrinsically difficult to measure.