Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Clean Technology
Clean Technology
Use of Liquid Crystals and Affinity Microcontact Printing to Detect Chemicals and Biomolecules
WARF: P03422US

Inventors: Nicholas Abbott, Matthew Lee Tingey, Brian Clare, Chang-Hyun Jang

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing methods for using affinity microcontact printing and liquid crystals to simply and easily detect a ligand or receptor.
Many conventional methods, such as radioimmunoassay (RIA), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or surface plasmon reflectometry (SPR), can detect the presence of target molecules; however, these techniques are expensive and often require complex equipment and highly trained individuals, making them difficult to use routinely in the field.
The Invention
UW-Madison researchers have developed methods for using affinity microcontact printing and liquid crystals to simply and easily detect a ligand or receptor. Affinity microcontact printing captures a specific ligand from a sample and “stamps” the ligand onto a detection surface so that the ligand’s presence can be visualized with liquid crystals.

First, an “affinity stamp” is created by covalently linking a capture protein, which binds the target ligand, to a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) base. The stamp is then placed into contact with a sample, and if the target ligand is present in the sample, the stamp will bind it. Next, the stamp is contacted with a detection substrate to transfer the target ligand, if present, from the stamp to the substrate. Liquid crystals are added to the top of the detection substrate, and a functionalized glass slide is placed on top of them. The ligand is present in the sample if the liquid crystal display appears disordered or disrupted.
  • Detecting many types of ligands or receptors including peptides and proteins; carbohydrates; metals, including heavy metals; chelators; pathogenic viruses and bacteria; mammalian cells; nucleic acids; antibodies; organic molecules; lipids; drugs; chemical agents; and pesticides or herbicides
Key Benefits
  • Simpler than conventional systems
  • May allow analysis of samples in remote locations
  • Uses separate surfaces for capturing and detecting the ligand, allowing use of different materials for each surface, as well as independent optimization of each surface for enhanced sensitivity and selectivity
  • Affinity stamps and detection substrates can be reused.
  • Reduces costs of detecting pathogens
For current licensing status, please contact Jennifer Gottwald at [javascript protected email address] or 608-960-9854