We aim to develop wash-free mix & measure magnetic immunoassays for sensitive, rapid, and point-of-need detection of viruses and proteins. Through our journey, we address fundamental and technological questions on three essential aspects of magnetic assays. We explore novel colloidal synthesis methods to tune magnetic properties of magnetic markers to improve the assay sensitivity. We then design and synthesize different modular polymers to coat our nanoparticles with anti-fouling polymers in order to offer high binding capacity and assay specificity. Finally, we explore and develop novel antigen and DNA/RNA detection concepts based on both clustering and disassembly of magnetic nanoparticles upon binding to targeting analytes. Our immunoassays are generic, applicable to detection of both viral proteins and human antibodies, and thus have very broad impact in containing the ongoing Covid-19 and any new emerging pandemic.
Our ultimate mission is to tackle metrological aspects of magnetic immunoassays such as random and systematic measurement errors to establish quantitative assays and answer the very fundamental question of “to what extent metrology can be applied to biology”?