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Clemson C3B, Clemson University, Clemson South Carolina 29634  College of Engineering & Science  C3B Advisory Board

 Biochips Primer    Bioelectronics Primer
Molecular Bioelectronics and Bioelectrochemistry

Molecular bioelectronics is concerned with the movement of charged entities (electrons and ions) within living systems. Bioelectrochemistry is concerned with the movement of these charged entities across electrified interfaces formed between the soft condensed or liquid phases of living systems and the solid state world of metallic and/or semiconductor electrodes.

Fundamental studies embrace electron and ion transport phenomena, signaling and signal transduction, and the associated molecular and organizational structures that control and influence these in living systems. Research is interdisciplinary with projects spanning the areas of bioanalytical, biophysical, surface science, and biomaterials chemistry and engineering. The scientific focus at our Center is interfacial biological electrochemistry, electronic coupling between enzymes and electrodes, and the immobilization of proteins and enzymes in mono and multilayer arrangements.

One specific biotechnological goal of this area of research is the development of biocatalytic devices for analytical sensing. Such analytical, bioelectronic devices may lead to enzyme sensors, made independent of molecular oxygen or co-factors often needed for their function. Of particular interest is the development of fast, highly-selective and regenerable amperometric biosensors that are based on the flow of direct interfacial current between metallic or semiconductor electrodes and immobilized enzymes.

Another, although longer term technological goal, is the development of in-vivo devices that may be directly involved in electrical communication with signal producing or controlling molecules, organelles or structures within living systems.

Current projects include: (i) direct electrochemistry and characterization of cytochrome C Oxidase in bilayer modified-metallic electrodes. (ii) The development of biocompatible electrodes using ultrathin self-assembled organic films. (iii) Nanoparticle modification of glassy carbon and microfabricated electrodes for biological redox mediation.

Issues in bioelectronics and bioelectrochemistry: (i) Techniques and procedures for reproducibly preparing bioactive monolayers on solid state electrodes. (ii) Retained bioactivity in bioelectronic layer. (iii) Vulnerability of the biotransducer to foulants and interferences.

Future directions in bioelectronics and bioelectrochemistry: (i) The use of genetically engineered proteins for control of biophysical properties and enhanced stability in mono and bi-layers. (ii) Methods for electrode surface modification for enhanced stability and of bioactive layers. (iii) The use of enzyme modified electrodes to assay pharmaceutical enzyme inhibitors. (iv) The use of cytochrome c oxidase modified electrodes to assay toxins. (v) The development of high-throughput methods using enzyme modified electrodes.

Studies in molecular bioelectronics and bioelectrochemistry have the potential to greatly impact our future approaches to in-vivo and invitro analysis and to therapy.

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Rev 11
Nov 2007