Our multidisciplinary work lies at the interface of molecular biology, biophysics, micro-engineering and nano-biotechnology. We combine fundamental and applied research, with technological innovation being a central focus. One main aspect of our work is the use of acoustic biosensors to study the structure of biomolecules and their significance in biological processes. Biophysical results are translated into the development of molecular diagnostic assays combined with isothermal amplification methods. Moreover, we couple the above assays with simple lab-fabricated 3D-printed prototypes or lab-on-chip platforms to create portable, low-cost systems for rapid genetic analysis. This work has resulted in innovations currently exploited to provide simple tools for molecular diagnostics anywhere in the world. We are now applying these technologies to address an expanding range of pertinent issues within the “One-Health” concept, including monitoring of human, plant and food-borne diseases as well as marine environmental monitoring. All our assays and measuring units are implemented in both the developed and developing countries where we continuously collaborate with end-users for testing (S. Africa, Mozambique, UK, France and Belgium).
Study of endosomal membrane-interaction with acoustic biosensors
Funding: Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) 2020-2024
Self-organization and the biomechanical properties of the endosomal membrane is an international collaborative project coordinated by Biosensors lab where, in addition to FORTH, three more international partners participate from Germany (Max Planck Inst.), Japan (Kanazawa Univ.), and the USA (Stanford). Funded by the HFSP, the project uses advanced biophysical techniques, biochemical methods, and simulations to elucidate the mechanism of endosomal membrane-tethering mediated by EEA1, a 200 nm long coiled-coil membrane binding protein.
Acoustic Biosensing of COVID-19 antibodies
Funding: ELIDEK 2020-2023
The COVID-19 pandemic brought many societal, economic but also technological changes regarding health-care. New scientific knowledge regarding viral variants, vaccines and diagnostic tests can be exploited in order to overcome this pandemic and also increase the society’s preparedness to deal with new viral outbreaks in the post-pandemic era. The H.F.R.I Greek-funded project AcouBioCoV is dealing with the development of a novel diagnostic tool for application at the point-of-care. Acoustic sensing technology is utilized to detect COVID-19 antibodies in patients’ serum.
POC-molecular diagnostic tools for infectious diseases
Funding: EU H2020_FET-OPEN 2020-2024
Point-of-care (POC) testing enables the rapid detection of analytes within minutes and near or close to the patient without the need of sophisticated equipment. The development of diagnostic tools that allow testing outside a central lab presents both a biological and technological challenge and is currently a very active area of research.
Molecular technologies for marine monitoring
Funding: EU H2020-Blue Growth 2020-2024
The EU H2020 project TechOceanS is tackling major challenges in ocean monitoring approaches. We are developing a new low-cost nucleic acid analyzer for in situ detection and quantification of multiple target species of major ecological importance.
Direct detection of plant pathogens in the field
Projects(current): EPANEK 2020-2023
Projects (previous): RIS3Crete (2022), Flagship Olive-roads (2022)
The direct detection of plant pathogens like fungi, bacteria, viruses, viroids is a matter of great importance. These pathogens affect field plants with huge economic impact, causing plant diseases that usually cannot be treated. Therefore, early diagnosis is necessary, in order to avoid financial loss to the agricultural products. In the last years we have been developing assays based on isothermal amplification for plantborne pathogens detection directly in crude samples and in the field.
Innovation in global diagnostics
Funding: EC-H2020-SC1-PHE-CORONAVIRUS-2020-2-CNECT (2022), EC-FP7-ICT (2015), EC-H2020-KET (2019), Patras-Science-Park (Proof-of-concept grant, 2020), Metavallon-fund (EIF), VC-fund (Eleven), Private investors, Advance Wave Sensors (AWS), Valencia (2022)
One of our main aims is the translation of lab-results to useful tools for global molecular diagnostics. Patented results have produced innovative concepts and products as well as two spin off companies to exploit them. Private as well as European funds are supporting our innovative activities some of which have already led to commercial products.
Acoustic sensors for biophysical studies
Funding: EU Horizon2020 (2018), HFSP (2008)
A major focus of our research is the elucidation of the way by which acoustic waves interact with biological molecules attached to the device surface and specifically, the molecular mechanisms involved in the interaction processes leading to acoustic energy dissipation. In our analysis, we consider that biomolecules attached to the device surface via an anchor are subject to a surface perturbation as a result of the wave propagation in the underlying substrate. We, therefore, imagine individual biomolecules being forced to oscillation which in turn produces a drag force between the moving biomolecule and the surrounding liquid.
Devices and integrated platforms
Funding: Horizon2020, FP7, GSRT
Biosensors group has extensive know-how and experience in laboratory research with acoustic wave sensors (Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) and QCM). The Love wave biosensor, a SAW-based waveguide device originally developed by Prof. E. Gizeli (Sensor Actuat 1992, Patent WO9201931), is a system routinely used for the propagation and detection of shear acoustic waves in a frequency range of 100 to 300 MHz. Today, the lab is also using a plethora of different commercially available or home-made devices to test novel concepts on acoustic sensing and develop integrated platforms.