Electron-Transfer Rate through DNA and its applications into Detection of Genetic Material of SARS-CoV2 Virus


Fri, 12 Nov 2021, 08:00 am - 09:00 am
Graduate Thesis Defense - Current
Anil Sharma
University of Louisville


In the past few years, researchers have been exploring the electrical properties of DNA (and related genetic materials) with a hope to use those highly stable structures in nano-electronic technologies. The charge transport mechanism in DNA, which is yet to be fully understood, has been envisioned as a key component in important applications for a wide variety of fields, for example to design miniaturized 3D electronic circuits and to design genetically-specific biosensors. Although large number of experiments have already been performed, a clear rationale for DNA’s conductivity is still lacking. Results for different research groups show a broad range of outcomes with DNA been reported to act as an insulator, semi-conductor, conductor, and in some exceptional case even as an induced super-conductor. The results of these experiments are highly affected by factors like the type (genetic sequence) of DNA used, the length of DNA sample, and temperature/pressure conditions. It also highly depends on whether the experiment is done in dry or liquid environments. Similarly, the results are seen to be influenced by the different methodologies used to immobilize a DNA molecule onto an electrode. One of the important factors to be considered in the conductivity measurement of DNA is the point of contact between the DNA and the electrode. I am interested in exploring the electronic properties of a chain of nucleic acid attached to a gold surface through well-designed immobilization chemistries and in an aqueous environment that is relevant for bioassay applications. I plan to investigate charge transfer between a gold surface and a DNA molecule by using the analytical tools such as electrochemical modulation of plasmonic surface waves, ac voltammetry, and optical impedance spectroscopy. Such knowledge will create the foundation that I plan to use for developing new biosensing strategies that could eventually detect the genetic code of any living being, as for example for the SARS-CoV2 virus.