ORC Seminar Series

"DNA Detection by Surface Enhanced Resonance Raman Scattering, SERRS"

Speaker: Prof. Duncan Graham, Strathclyde University

Date: 12 November 2008

Time: 2pm

Venue: Building 46, Lecture Theatre B


Metallic nanoparticles can be used as basic materials for a wide variety of purposes including building blocks for nanoassemblies, substrates for enhanced spectroscopies such as fluorescence and Raman and as labels for biomolecules. Here we report how silver and gold nanoparticles can be functionalised with specific biomolecular probes to interact in a specific manner with a target molecule to provide a change in the properties of the nanoparticles which can be measured to indicate the molecular recognition event. Examples of this approach that will be discussed include DNA hybridisation to switch on surface enhanced resonance Raman scattering (SERRS) when a specific target sequence is present, the use of nanoparticles for in vivo SERRS imaging and use of nanoparticles functionalised with antibodies to provide a new type of immunoassay. These examples indicate how nanoparticles can be used to provide highly sensitive and informative data from a variety of biological systems when used with SERRS.


Duncan Graham obtained his BSc Honours in Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh in 1992 and his PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry in 1996 under the direction of Prof. Tom Brown investigating the use of modified oligonucleotides to inhibit HIV. He then moved to the University of Strathclyde where he joined the group of Prof. Ewen Smith as a postdoctoral fellow to examine the use of surface enhanced resonance Raman scattering (SERRS) for DNA analysis with Zeneca Diagnostics. Breakthroughs during that period of research lead to the award of a five-year David Phillips fellowship from the BBSRC to examine the area of DNA analysis by SERRS. In 2002 he won the RSC’s Analytical Grand Prix Fellowship which provided funding for another period of five years to further develop his chosen area of using synthetic chemistry to create and develop new methods of bioanalysis using optical spectroscopy. In 2004 he was awarded the SAC Silver medal for the ‘Innovative synthesis of new analytical reagents for sensitive and selective analysis' and in 2005 he was presented with the Nexxus Young Life Scientist of Year award. In 2007 he was elected to the fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and is a cofounder and director of D3 Technologies Ltd which formed in 2007. He is currently Deputy Director of WestCHEM (the joint chemical sciences research school of Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities), Co-director of the Centre for Molecular Nanometrology, Director of Research Admissions and Head of Research for Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde,. He has published close to 100 papers and 11 patents, was appointed as a lecturer in 2002 and promoted to professor in 2004. His interests are in using synthetic chemistry to produce nanosensors that respond to a specific biological species or event and he has a group of around 25 working on various aspects of this area of science.


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