Pittcon 2018: How to Detect Multiple Disease Biomarkers Using Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering

Select Science
Editorial Article
21 Dec 2017

Professor Karen Faulds explores the biggest advantage of SERS: the ability to analyze multiple analytes in one sample

Professor Karen Faulds, of the University of Strathclyde, is at the forefront of research into the use of surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) for bioanalysis in life and clinical sciences. She will be presenting her work on the detection of multiple bacteria and disease biomarkers at the Pittcon Conference and Expo 2018 in Orlando, USA, next February. In this interview with SelectScience®, Faulds explores the versatility and sensitivity of SERS for sensing multiple disease biomarkers in the same sample and explains how attending Pittcon influences and benefits her research.

SS: Briefly introduce yourself and your place of work.

I am a professor in the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde and my research involves the development of surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and other spectroscopic techniques for novel analytical detection strategies and, in particular, multiplexed bioanalytical applications. I obtained my Ph.D. from the University of Strathclyde in 2003 and became a full professor there in 2015. The University of Strathclyde is located in the centre of Glasgow in Scotland and is a technological university focusing on science and engineering. Our research is conducted within the recently completed new Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC) which has been designed to allow more efficient multidisciplinary and collaborative working within the university, but also with external partners. Our research area consists of laboratories for chemical synthesis, biological handling at CAT 2 level (molecular, cell and bacteria culture), spectroscopy and nanofabrication housing state-of-the-art equipment (zeta potential, DLS, nanosizing, SEM, AFM, dark field microscopy, Raman microscopy).

SS: Describe your work on bioanalysis using SERS and explain the importance of this research

Our research focuses on using surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) to create new approaches to bioanalysis for use in the life and clinical sciences. SERS is a spectroscopic technique that offers significant advantages over other established techniques such as fluorescence in terms of the amount of information obtained, and our research has focused on highlighting the advantages, creating new examples of increased capability in life science applications and interacting with end users to shape future step changes in research. Our research centres around using the inherent sensitivity of SERS for the detection of molecules, mainly disease biomarkers such as target DNA or proteins, as well as detection of specific bacteria strains. Our work has focused on exploiting the sensitivity of SERS for quantitative analysis of biomolecules, as well as exploiting one of the key advantages of SERS, the ability to analyze multiple analytes in one sample. This allows more information to be gained per analysis as well as giving information about complex systems that are intrinsically difficult to measure.