Special Issue "Label-Free Biosensors: Exploring the Field"
A special issue of Biosensors (ISSN 2079-6374).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2014)
Dr. Andrew M. Shaw
Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK
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Interests: protein array screening with applications; biomarkers of recovery and biomarkers of disease; antibody array screening with applications in vaccine validation; mechanisms of allergy and auto-immune diseases
The “label-free biosensor” has been claimed by many researchers as a name for a wide variety of technologies that range from mass spectrometers to whole-cell sensors. This Special Issue of Biosensors should attempt to define the field: “a Label-free biosensor must detect a whole biologically active molecule in real time”. Also, the specificity and sensitivity common to all assays must apply.
This definition allows for techniques to use naturally occurring chromophores or fluorophores, such as enzyme cofactors, to confer specificity. In contrast, Raman, SERS or CARS signatures need to have a specific transduction technology (other than localization or imaging). A specific transduction event, such as antibody capture of the target analyte, confers specificity to a number of technologies, including electrochemistry and surface plasmon resonance. While mass spectrometry is exquisitely sensitive and will detect molecules at exceptionally low concentrations, these molecules are not intact and, without some pre-selection, biological activity is difficult to establish.
Sensitivity is also a key requirement for a label-free biosensor. A whole-cell sensor contains the biological specificity required for a biologically active sensor, but interrogation is rarely in real time. Sensitivity must be defined against the normal range for the biological species that causes the biological effect or that defines a profile. For example, in the case of a biomarker, the sensitivity should be at least as good as the lower limit of the normal range, and also have a reasonably dynamic range to accommodate the upper limit. However, biologically or medically important discoveries often occur when the detection limit is significantly lower than the normal range.
Dr. Andrew M. Shaw
Manuscript Submission Information
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- biological activity
- surface plasmon resonance
- localized particle plasmon resonance
- mass spectrometry
- whole-cell sensors