Quantum semiconductor biosensors

Project's title :

Bio-functionalization technology of semiconductor biosensors for rapid detection of pathogens in water

Description and context :

Bacterial contamination of hot water plumbing and water processed in industrial cooling towers designed for air conditioning has led to frequent disease outbreaks in different countries, including Canada. To address the deficiencies of conventional methods of detecting pathogens in water, such as requirement to transport to a laboratory, long time-to-results (for culture), and expensive polymerase chain reaction, numerous biosensing platforms have been investigated, but without a satisfactory solution as of yet.

We have been developing a novel class of quantum semiconductor photonic biosensing (QSPB) devices that employ standard GaAs-based semiconductor wafers, such as those used in the fabrication of ubiquitous light-emitting diode devices. This approach brings the potential of an automated, remote, and cost-attractive solution. The limit of detection (LOD) of Legionella pneumophila in water with our current QSPB biochips, combined with the chemotaxis effect and mechanical concentration of bacteria, has been estimated at 1 CFU/mL. This result would offer an adequate level of protection against pathogenic L. pneumophila, however, this requires highly efficient chemotaxis and mechanical concentration steps that are quite challenging.

Alternatively, the requirement of a low LOD could be met by the availability of more sensitive QSPB devices. This proposal addresses the urgent need to undertake a systematic study of biofunctionalization science and technology that lags behind, especially when addressing the innovative QSPB technology, but which could lead to ultrasensitive detection of bacteria at an attractive cost. To achieve this goal, we collaborate with two Canadian companies, one specializing in implementing a nationwide program of monitoring L. pneumophila in water and the other in developing chicken antibodies as research and diagnostic tools.

Dates :

Janvier 2017- Janvier 2020

Project's holders :

  • Pr. Jan Dubowski, Université de Sherbrooke
  • Pr. Eric Frost, Université de Sherbrooke
  • Pr. Maria DeRosa, Carleton University, Ottawa

Industrial partners :

  • Magnus Chemicals, Ltd., Boucherville Qc
  • Immune Biosolutions, Sherbrooke Qc

Students :

  • Elnaz Nazemi
  • Srivatsa Aithal
  • Reza Aziziyan
  • Sebastien Choinière
  • Hemant Sharma
  • Daniela Marquez
  • Lucas Paladines
  • Hakim Grib