Technologies
PDF


WARF: P03002US

Label-Free, Radio-Frequency Detection of DNA Hybridization at Microelectrodes


INVENTORS -

Daniel van der Weide, Robert Hamers, Wei Cai, John Peck

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a new device and method for directly detecting DNA hybridization at microelectrodes.
OVERVIEWMost of today’s technologies for detecting DNA hybridization – the binding of a DNA strand to its complementary strand – require the use of fluorescent tags or other types of labels.
THE INVENTIONUW-Madison researchers have developed a new device and method that use radio-frequency (RF) excitation to directly detect DNA hybridization at microelectrodes. This invention exploits the electrochemical double-layer that forms at solid-liquid interfaces, and, in particular, this layer’s non-linear dielectric properties, which change in response to DNA hybridization events.

The method employs a novel homodyne reflectometer that includes a counter electrode and a working electrode, with the surface of the working electrode functionalized to carry single-stranded DNA molecules. When a low-frequency RF modulation signal is applied to the counter electrode and a high-frequency carrier signal is applied to the working electrode, these signals are mixed by the non-linear behavior of the double-layer at the interface between the working electrode and the solution of attached DNA. Mixing, in turn, generates a new signal that exhibits significant changes in amplitude when DNA hybridizes at the surface.

The dielectric properties of solid-liquid interfaces are known to change in response to biological binding events. What sets this invention apart is that it measures the non-linear response of the double-layer, allowing isolation of the active sensing region from background changes in dielectric properties unrelated to DNA hybridization.
APPLICATIONS
  • Detecting DNA hybridization
KEY BENEFITS
  • Directly detects DNA hybridization without the need for fluorescent tags or other labels
  • Detects DNA hybridization events at surfaces with virtually zero background interference
  • Faster and much more sensitive than previous attempts to measure DNA hybridization through electronic means
  • Promises to allow fabrication of small and inexpensive detectors
  • Completely compatible with wireless integrated circuit technology and scaleable to sub-micron dimensions for low-cost, high-speed readout
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For More Information About the Inventors
Publications
  • Cai W., Peck J.R., van der Weide D.W. and Hamers R.J. 2004. Direct Electrical Detection of Hybridization at DNA-Modified Silicon Surfaces. Biosens. Bioelectron. 19, 1013-1019.
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Emily Bauer at emily@warf.org or 608-960-9842.
The WARF Advantage

Since its founding in 1925 as the patenting and licensing organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WARF has been working with business and industry to transform university research into products that benefit society. WARF intellectual property managers and licensing staff members are leaders in the field of university-based technology transfer. They are familiar with the intricacies of patenting, have worked with researchers in relevant disciplines, understand industries and markets, and have negotiated innovative licensing strategies to meet the individual needs of business clients.