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Projects. Life and Earth Sciences

The development of biomimetic affinity sensors, based on the molecular printing of polymers prepared by electrodeposition. Application to the detection of metabolites

Lead Researcher:
Francisco Montilla Jiménez

Research Centre:
Universidad de Alicante.

Synopsis: 

Francisco Montilla JiménezElectrochemical sensors are being developed using molecularly printed modified silicon electrodes to detect a range of metabolites of relevance for clinical diagnosis: glucose, bilirubin, creatinin, thyroxin, cortisol, testosterone and creatine. The proposed methodology avoids the use of biological elements such as enzymes and/or antibodies by designing biomimetic matrices tailored for the target molecule, as well as the manufacture of an electrochemical sensor for use in the detection of metabolites in physiological fluids.

To undertake this work electrodes were modified with molecularly printed silicon electrodes using electrochemical methods.

Microstructured layers based on silicon were synthesised using the sol-gel method based on a tetraalkylorthosilicate, preferentially tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS). A method was optimised to deposit thin layers of this material on several electrodes (ITO/glass, vitreous carbon, printed electrodes, etc.), preferentially using electrodeposition techniques.

The properties of the layers (hydrophilicity, ionic conductivity and porosity) may be modulated by producing silicon modified with organic elements (ormosil) using suitable precursors. Studies will take place with methyltrimethoxysiloxane, methyltriethoxysilane and 3-mercaptopropyl-triethoxysilane with the aim of increasing the selectivity and sensitivity of the matrices in synthetic mixtures.

The properties of the resulting silicon deposit will be determined using electrochemical techniques with redox probes or with fluorescent probes and microscopy. Partially positive results have been achieved in the detection of dopamine interfered by ascorbic acid.

Scientific production
1 paper at international conferences

Researcher's web address:
http://www.ua.es/electro



Francisco Montilla Jiménez

Francisco Montilla is Professor of the Physical Chemistry Department at the University of Alicante.

His doctoral thesis centres on the study of the electrochemical reactivity of aromatic compounds from a fundamental point of view, as well as the design, manufacturing and application of electrodes for the elimination of toxic compounds from waste water: doped tin oxide electrode, electrodes based on Cu-Co compounds, diamond doped with Boron, etc.

His thesis was awarded the Extraordinary Doctorate Prize as well as the Young Researchers Prize from the RSEQ's Electrochemistry Specialist Group. After finishing his thesis, he gained a Juan de la Cierva contract from the Ministry of Education and Science and joined the Molecular and Cellular Biology Institute at the Miguel Hernández University, where he worked on the study of conjugate polymers and their possible uses in organic electronic devices such as OLEDs, sensors or photovoltaic cells.

In 2007, he rejoined the UA as a contracted Ramón y Cajal researcher, where he manufactured hybrid materials based on sol-gel matrices and conductive polymers with a range of uses: energy storage and the development of sensors and biosensors, etc.

He has undertaken research stays at the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom, the University of Ferrara (Italy) and the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (Switzerland). He is the author of more than 40 papers or book chapters and holds one patent for the development of biomimetic electrochemical sensors.


*All intellectual property rights belong to the author. Reproduction of all or part of the work without permission from the author is prohibited.
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