Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Proteomics on a chip


‘Golden approach’ human proteine classification
Proteomics on a chip

Knowledge of the human proteome may provide us with even more insight than knowledge of DNA. This ‘protein blueprint’ of a human contains valuable information about cell properties and disease causes. A single cell, however, already consists of several thousands of proteines. To be able to classify them, dr. Richard Schasfoort of the University of Twente is developing a special chip, able to make hundreds or thousands proteine analyses at the same time. For his ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ ideas, he got the Dutch Innovation impulse last year. Important steps have been made already, in the development of a chip for patient monitoring of prostate cancer, using the same proteine analysis technique. In his new Biochip research group at UT, starting July 1st, Schasfoort is extending this concept towards use in proteomics.

The blueprint of an organism can be found in the proteome, the total ‘package’ of proteins being expressed within this organism. Not all proteins are in a direct way linked to DNA, they interact themselves. Finding the protein pattern – each cell has about 10000 proteins, of which several thousands are unknown - is a new race, providing more information than the DNA-map. The Human Proteome Organisation (HUPO) faces the challenge of identifying over 300.000 proteines.


There are techniques for this, Schasfoort admits. But for these amounts of data, they are very time-consuming: they are in fact based on visual recognition of proteines and selecting the interesting ones with a kind of chemical ‘pair of tweezers’. Schasfoort is convinced of the need for a new approach: he proposes a combination of ‘microfluidics’ and a detection technique called Surface Plasmon Resonance imaging (SPR). In this way, he wants to build a complete lab on a chip, for imaging of hundreds or thousands of proteines at the same time. On the chip, a separation technique splits the proteome in individual proteins. They ‘land’ on tiny gold surfaces, specially prepared for capturing the proteines: one proteine on every gold. Caused by the interaction, a change in refractive index is induced: in this way optical detection is possible. A laser scans all the golden rectangles with proteines on them, and a camera makes an image of the proteine pattern.

Schasfoort’s new Biochip group is part of the chair of Biophysical Techniques, faculty of Applied Physics, University of Twente. In this group, Schasfoort wants to develop a complete integrated system. For this idea, NWO the Dutch organisation for scientific research, granted him with the ‘Vernieuwingsimpuls’, about 700 thousand euro for a period of five years. Schasfoort doesn’t start ‘from scratch’: he already developed the basic components, for a prostate cancer monitoring system using the same technique SPR. This is done in a EU-project to be finished in approx half a year. In the project, directed by IMEC in Belgium, detection of the cancer-specific proteine in blood is possible, in quantities of less than a tenth of a nanogram per millilitre. All handling and separation of fluids is done on the same chip. The laser and the camera can be made very small as well.

Dr. Richard Schasfoort (43), chemical engineer, developed large-scale industrial SPR systems before, in a company called Ibis Technologies. After getting acquainted with microfluidics in the group of Albert van den Berg (MESA+), he decided to combine best of both worlds. The power of the ‘lab-on-a-chip’ concept was already seen in the human genome project, when analysis chips became commercially available. Schasfoort starts with a group of six scientists and technicians.

Wiebe van der Veen | alfa

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>