ZnO Nanorod-based Early Biomarker Screening for Acute Kidney Injury. The objective of this proposal is to utilize recent advances in nanomaterials to develop improved tools for the detection and quantification of biologically and medically relevant protein markers. Our preliminary research demonstrates that nanoscale ZnO platforms, without any chemical or biological amplification processes, enable increased fluorescence detection of DNA or protein by a factor of 1000 when compared to other commonly used substrates. This superior optical nature of ZnO nanomaterials will be extremely useful as advanced biosensors and/or biodetection platforms for applications in medicine and public health. The planned research develops an effective method capable of directly assembling novel, arrayed ZnO nanomaterials with their optical properties tuned for optimal fluorescence enhancement. Subsequently, the proposed research will address the growing interest in protein marker assays, especially in meeting the demand for highly-parallel and miniaturized identification of early detection markers. We will develop ZnO nanorod assays for the sensitive and unambiguous identification of kidney disease biomarker proteins. Then, we will use the ZnO nanorod assays to measure several candidate biomarker levels in urine samples collected in a prospective manner from patients admitted to the medical intensive care unit of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. We will also demonstrate that our ZnO nanorod platforms in an array format have a great potential for rapid, high-throughput detection devices that are low-cost and, at the same time, effective in screening for multiple markers in a parallel format. Our expectation is that ZnO nanorod based platforms will have vastly superior detection capabilities than currently available techniques. These results are significant because they are expected to lead to the development of sensitive, low cost assays of clinically relevant markers of human disease. This versatile platform will also facilitate detection of environmental hazards and chemical and biological threats.
Early detection is critical to reducing the morbidity, mortality and costs associated with disease. By developing a sensitive, accurate and efficient means for biomarker detection, this research will facilitate the diagnosis and care of individuals with a wide variety of diseases.
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