In the Supramolecular Sensors Stream, students take on the challenge of constructing differential array sensors that can be ultimately applied to many fields such as homeland security, food industry, environmental science, and clinical diagnostics. The current project of the whole stream is the construction of peptidic sensors that can be used to differentiate wine varietals. The sensors work via the indicator displacement assay, a technique pioneered by Dr. Eric Anslyn and his research group at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Why analyze wine?
Wine is a perfect analyte to test the capability of differential sensors constructed due to the wine's chemical diversity and complexity. Compounds present in wine are metabolites coming not only from the grape but also from the yeast that act upon the grape, the environmental factors to which the growing grapes were exposed to, and even the oak barrels where the wine was aged. Wine is a great test sample for the results of the stream to extend to applications in disease diagnostics via metabolomic studies. It also translates to how sophisticated the sensor array is, even if the sensors constructed were relatively simple. Furthermore, there will be a direct impact of this study on the wine industry.
How will sensing be done?
Individual sensors function via indicator displacement, causing a change in signal, such as absorbance that can be measured using a UV-vis spectrophotometer. Using an array of receptors that are cross-reactive but not specific to analytes tested, a unique pattern of signals can be obtained from a specific analyte or analyte mixtures. Fingerprinting is facilitated using multivariate data analysis or pattern recognition protocols.
To learn more about this, contact Eman or Eric (see contact info below).
The Indicator Displacement Assay
In order to expand the peptide repertoire we use to construct our sensors, the stream will be employing the technology of phage display of peptides; a technique that has been successfully used to study protein-protein and protein-drug interactions.
What do you need to have to join and enjoy being in the stream?
A very important characteristic to have in the stream is an open mind. It is assumed that students have minimum knowledge about techniques and theories needed to perform and understand research in the stream. A high degree of patience is also great to have.
Some of the major techniques students will learn from the stream are:
- Indicator displacement assay
- UV-vis spectroscopy
- Solid phase peptide synthesis
- Multivariate data analysis
- High performance liquid chromatography
- Titering of bacteriophages
- Bacterial culture
- DNA isolation and sequencing
- High throughput techniques
Dr. Eman Ghanem (click to email)
WEL 5.104 and WEL 5.424
Dr. Eric V. Anslyn (click to email)
Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Website: http://www.cm.utexas.edu/