Wed, 30 Mar 2022
Events, Seminar Series

Dr. Sabine Kuss

University of Manitoba

Quantitative Bioelectrochemistry - Innovative Approaches to Investigate Drug Resistance and Cancer Development

Wednesday, March 30, 2022
AQ 3150 @ 3:30 p.m.

Host: Dr. Hogan Yu



Drug resistance in bacteria and cancer is a growing problem that severely increases the number of deaths from bacterial infections and cancer. [1,2] According to the World Health Organization, drug resistance is present in every country, and various national and international health organizations have called for the urgent development of new treatment and diagnostic strategies. [3] Cellular resistance mechanisms are at the root of drug resistance, which include cell membrane protein modifications, intracellular drug target alterations, and the over expression of efflux pumps. [4]

This presentation outlines innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to recognize and quantify drug resistance in bacteria and cancer cells by electrochemistry. Electroanalytical techniques are cost efficient, sensitive and the transparency of a liquid sample is irrelevant, allowing direct in vitro analysis of blood, urine, and saliva samples. This presentation covers the characterization of some of the most important commercial drugs, and new investigational antibiotic hybrids by electrochemistry. [5] Building on this exploration of drug electrochemistry, the quantification of drug influx and retention in biological cells will be presented. This research forms the basis for the development of a point-of-care biosensor to identify drug resistance in patient samples. Such technology would advance clinical treatment from the current trial-and-error approach to the prescription of evidence-based personalized drug regimens. Similar to drug resistance, cancer affects people on all continents. The initiation of cancer can be due to genetic predispositions or external factors, such as radiation exposure. This presentation will illustrate our recent progress in the development of micro-optical-ring electrodes (MOREs), bioelectrochemical sensors capable of simultaneously irradiating and monitoring the electrochemical response of living cells, to obtain information about the cellular ability to cope with oxidative stress. This research ultimately aims to pinpoint the moment of cancer initiation and to explore strategies to manipulate or even reverse cancer development and progression.

  • [1] J. Sun, A. R. Warden, J. Huang, W. Wang, and X. Ding, Anal. Chem., 91, 7524–7530 (2019).
  • [2] R. Article, J. Pathol., 205, 275–292 (2005).
  • [3] World Health Organization (WHO). Global action plan on antimicrobial resistance; (2015).
  • [4] H. Nikaido, Annu. Rev. Biochem., 78, 119–146 (2009).
  • [5] R. Islam, H.T. Le Luu, S. Kuss, J. Electrochem. Soc., 167, 045501 (2020).


Dr Sabine Kuss joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Manitoba as Assistant Professor in Analytical Chemistry in September 2018. Dr Kuss is an interdisciplinary scientist with an expertise in electrochemistry and a strong background in biochemistry and biology. During her academic career she completed her undergraduate studies in Biology at the University of Technology Dresden, Germany, followed by a Master’s degree in Biochemistry at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Dr Kuss received a PhD degree in Chemistry at McGill University in 2015 and took the opportunity to work with Dr Richard G. Compton as a Marie Curie European Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford, England. Sabine was awarded the 2019 Early Career Analytical Electrochemistry Prize by the International Society of Electrochemistry.

At UofM the research group of Dr Kuss focuses on electrochemistry and its application to biological systems in the fields of endocrinological diseases, antibiotic drug resistance in pathogens, mitochondrial dysfunctions, cancer development, and the development of electrochemical biosensors.