Cell-based biosensor systems for toxin detection and drug discovery

Gregory T.A. Kovacs, M.D., Ph.D.
Stanford University

Wednesday, January 8, 2003
3:00 p.m. Pacific Forum



For many years, researchers have been able to grow living cells on integrated circuit substrates, and their qualitative responses to pharmaceutical agents have long been demonstrated. How-ever, little work has been done to use this technology in realistic, repeatable, and quantitative instruments.

Complete sensor systems can now be built that include full microenvironments for the cells and are field portable. These instruments include the sensor-containing substrates on which cells are grown, sensors for closed-loop microincubator control, dual cell chambers (for control and test samples), and all of the necessary fluidic interfaces. Cultured cells can be transported into the field and maintained in a sterile environment essentially identical to that found in a conventional incubator. These tech-nologies can be applied not only to the detection of chemical and biological warfare agents, but also to the discovery of new pharmaceuticals.

This presentation will cover advances in the areas of cellular-electronic interfaces, engineered cells, signal interpretation algorithms, and system integration leading to the development and field testing of a self-contained, hand-held, cell-based biosensor.

Next: Bioluminescent plankton: Association with thin layers and marine snow in coastal oceans