What has the ATTRACT seed funding enabled you to do so far?
It has allowed us to push forward our label-free Lossy Mode Resonance (LMR) based biosensors towards its application for the detection of biomarkers linked with rheumatoid arthritis, like some specific miRNA or the rheumatoid factor.
What challenges have you faced so far?
Working with DNA is very challenging compared with our previous works with proteins. However, it has permitted us to acquire new knowledge and gain a vast expertise in this area. In particular, working with DNA requires to put special attention to the conservation of the DNA chain, because it can be easily damaged and it is more sensitive to the environment conditions, such as the temperature or pH. Moreover, DNA proper linkage depends on many parameters, such as the fact that the DNA should be properly stretched and the temperature has to be set properly to promote the linkage with the complementary chain and not with others.
Where does your ATTRACT journey go from here?
Right now, the main objective is to detect several biomarkers linked to rheumatoid arthritis using LMR in the concentrations that are relevant for clinical diagnosis. If this objective is fulfilled, the long term purpose will consist in the development of a label-free sensing platform capable of detecting several of these biomarkers at the same time as well as provide accurate early diagnoses and trace the evolution of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Sum up in two sentences the advantages of the ATTRACT Programme over other research funding schemes.
The ATTRACT Programme provides full flexibility for studying innovative and disruptive technologies. ATTRACT Programme gives the projects the resources to obtain visibility among possible funders in order to develop their full potential.