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Biomolecular Diagnostics

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This multidisciplinary research team is committed to develop new biomolecular tools, such as nanoparticles (CdSe@ZnS quantum dots) and biosensors, for practical applications like disease diagnostic and bioprocess monitoring.. 

  

Abel González Oliva
Investigador Auxiliar
PhD in 1987 Universität Hohenheim/Germany

Phone (+351) 214469427 | Extension 1427
oliva@itqb.unl.pt


Research Interests

The Biomolecular Diagnostic laboratory is a multidisciplinary research group specialized in the development of biosensing tools for molecular detection and quantification, as in applications for veterinary diagnostic or for plant studies. The development of nanoparticles (CdSe@ZnS quantum dots), including their chemical functionalization and bioconjugation with chosen molecules, is one of our main activities. The photoluminescence properties of the nanoparticles are strongly size dependent. These highly stable fluorescence nanoparticles can be tuned for specific fluorescence emission during synthesis. Shaping the size and external molecule envelope of the nanoparticles can define specific properties. This allows the use of different quantum dots simultaneously in an assay, offering advantage related to standard fluorophores in cellular studies, microscopic imaging and clinical diagnostics.

We use the quantum dots for identification of morphological and structural cell changes, e.g. in studies of Babesia spp infection in bovine erythrocytes or in studies of Fusarium spp invasion in plant cultures, allowing an unexplored perspective of the phenomena, with increased capabilities related to the standard techniques. Upon binding with biotarget molecules, the binding event can be detected from individual nanoparticles or nanoparticle clusters by monitoring nanoparticle property change response.
The development of devices and specific instruments for biosensing applications has been also an important area of research in our group. In this moment we are working in the development of a hybrid biosensor (optical and electrochemical) for cell diagnostic and monitoring. Following our previous development of an impedance spectroscopy microfluidic sensor for evaluation of disease infected cells, a system based on a microfluidic chip, with electrodes arrays surrounding the channels deployed onto a waveguide is under development. This hybrid sensing structure will be adopted for the analysis of complex biological samples (e.g. whole blood, fermentation media or in vitro cell culture), allowing the obtention of a large amount of information of the cells under study that are passing-through the microchannel.

These techniques are used in our laboratory for e.g. the study of a veterinary parasitic disease, Babesia spp, which is transmitted by ticks and infect erythrocytes. This parasite is largely distributed across subtropical regions around the world and yet less studied.

 

Group Members

    • Nashira Vieira (PostDoc)
    • Sofia Miguel, PhD student (in co-supervision)
    • Raquel Santos, BI
    • David Barata, BI
    • Joana Campos, BI
    • Andre Amorim, Project Student
    • Verena Conson, Visiting trainee
    • Sebastian Winkler, Visiting trainee 
       

Selected Publications

  1. The impact of CdSe/ZnS Quantum Dots in cell suspension cultures of Medicago sativa Santos, Raquel, Miguel, Sofia; Tomaz, Leonor; Malho, Rui; Maycock, Christopher; Patto, Carlota; ITQB, Fevereiro, Manuel Pedro and Oliva, Abel (2010) Journal of Nanobiotechnology
  2. First survey for Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina infection in cattle from Central and Southern regions of Portugal using serological and DNA detection methods. Silva M., Henriques G., Sánchez C., Marques P. X., Suarez C.E. and Oliva A. (2009) Veterinary Parasitology. Volume 166, Issues 1-2, 66-72
  3. Dielectrophoretic sorting on a microfabricated flow cytometer: label free separation of Babesia bovis infected erythrocytes. Elisabete M. Nascimento, Nuno Nogueira, Tiago Silva, Thomas Braschler, Nicolas Demierre, Phillippe Renaud, Abel G. Oliva. (2008) Bioelectrochemistry Volume 73, Issue 2, Pages 123-128

 

Laboratory's Website

For further information please visit the laboratory's website

 

Diagnóstico Biomolecular (PT)

O Laboratório de Diagnóstico Biomolecular é um grupo de investigação interdisciplinar, dedicado ao desenvolvimento de aplicações biossensoras, nomeadamente para detecção de moléculas, diagnóstico clínico ou monitorização de bioprocessos.

Presentemente estão a ser desenvolvidas nanopartículas com características ópticas especiais, que possibilitam a sua utilização para obter imagens de microscopia mais pormenorizadas, nomeadamente de estruturas celulares ou de processos de infecção. Estas nanopartículas são denominadas quantum dots e apresentam propriedades ópticas únicas, que oferecem vantagens em relação aos tradicionais marcadores fluorescentes. Simultaneamente o grupo está a desenvolver um sensor híbrido (óptico e eléctrico) para estudo de células, que são conduzidas por microcanais e analisadas individualmente. Estas técnicas permitem o análise e interpretação de fenómenos associados a p.e. o estudo da infecção de Babesia em eritrócitos, doença transmitida por carraças muito estendida nas regiões subtropicais e pouco estudada ainda.

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