Function-based Biosensor for Hazardous Waste Toxin Detection [report]

James J Hickman
2008 unpublished
There is a need for new types of toxicity sensors in the DOE and other agencies that are based on biological function as the toxins encountered during decontamination or waste remediation may be previously unknown or their effects subtle. Many times the contents of the environmental waste, especially the minor components, have not been fully identified and characterized. New sensors of this type could target unknown toxins that cause death as well as intermediate levels of toxicity that impair
more » ... unction or cause long term impairment that may eventually lead to death. The primary question posed in this grant was to create an electronically coupled neuronal cellular circuit to be used as sensor elements for a hybrid non-biological/biological toxin sensor system. A sensor based on the electrical signals transmitted between two mammalian neurons would allow the marriage of advances in solid state electronics with a functioning biological system to develop a new type of biosensor. Sensors of this type would be a unique addition to the field of sensor technology but would also be complementary to existing sensor technology that depends on knowledge of what is to be detected beforehand. We integrated physics, electronics, surface chemistry, biotechnology, and fundamental neuroscience in the development of this biosensor. Methods were developed to create artificial surfaces that enabled the patterning of discrete cells, and networks of cells, in culture; the networks were then aligned with transducers. The transducers were designed to measure electromagnetic fields (EMF) at low field strength. We have achieved all of the primary goals of the project. We can now pattern neurons routinely in our labs as well as align them with transducers. We have also shown the signals between neurons can be modulated by different biochemicals. In addition, we have made another significant advance where we have repeated the patterning results with adult hippocampal cells. Finally, we demonstrated that patterned cardiac cells on microelectrode arrays could act as sensors as well.
doi:10.2172/934539 fatcat:yhfvjghwnraihalug5p52dkdje