We are developing electronic chip-based technology for DNA and protein analysis for industry. This research will help revolutionize health care, emergency rooms and personalized medicine.
The measurement capabilities for quantitative medicine are relatively primitive, and this metrology paucity is proving costly in terms of lives lost needlessly and burgeoning medical expenses. Our project is helping to develop modern, key measurement methods for Health Care & other fields. Addressing these unmet measurement issues is critically important to all members of society.
Electronic DNA Sequencing
We demonstrated that an electric field can drive individual molecules of single-stranded DNA through a nanoscale pore in a linear fashion. We suggested that the method could be used to read each base of the DNA in ticker-tapelike fashion. There has been intense worldwide interest in this field of research that was pioneered at NIST. Several companies (IBM, Oxford Nanopore, Electronic BioSciences, and Genia) are developing DNA sequencing devices based on our technology.
Single Molecule Mass Spectrometry
We also demonstrated that the physical properties (i.e., mass and charge) of single molecules can be determined by measuring the degree by which they interrupt the flow of ions through a single nanometer-scale pore. The technique should lead to chip-based mass spectrometers that are capable of identifying proteins, other biological molecules, and synthetic polymers.
Electronic Devices for Health Care
Spiraling health care costs are a serious threat to the U.S. economy and to each of us. We are developing the technology for the next generation devices to address this issue. We will revolutionize DNA & RNA sequencing and protein analysis. The technology we are developing has the potential to positively impact the early detection of cancer and monitor disease treatment in individuals (a capability that requires electronics and systems integration).
Lead Organizational Unit:pml
Source of Extramural Funding:
NIH, NSF, NIST Office of Law Enforcement Standards
John J. Kasianowicz, Leader
Joseph W.F. Robertson
Jessica Benjamini (EMBO post-doc)
Jacob Forstater (post-doc)
(Image courtesy of Jeffrey Aarons)