Our team is looking for talented and motivated PhD students, postdocs and interns to work on the development of multiplexed microRNAs biosensors. In the frame of the ERC project MoP-MiP (Molecular Programming for MicroRNAs Profiling), the research involves the design of “smart” molecular networks for the biosensing of these emerging biomarkers.
Feel free to come and discuss position opportunities with us !
molecular programming, DNA nanotechnology, microRNA detection, single-molecule, microfluidics, flow cytometry, molecular neural networks.
MoP-MiP in short
MicroRNAs, a class of transcripts responsible for the fine regulation of gene expression, are emerging as promising biomarkers for cancer monitoring (diagnostic, prognostic and prediction of therapy response). The profiling microRNAs from liquid biopsy represents a hopeful opportunity to fight these diseases, enabling large population screening for early cancer detection and real-time monitoring of the response to treatment. However, current microRNA detection methods do not meet performances in terms of sensitivity, multiplexing and practicality, necessary to bring microRNA signatures to the front line of clinical applications.
MoP-MiP will develop novel approaches for microRNA profiling building on the latest advances in molecular programming (MP). MP deals with the design of artificial DNA reaction networks capable of information processing, which will be exploited throughout this project to build smarter biosensors. The team will pursue two major objectives: 1) the development of a digital and multiplex assay (Digiplex), where each microRNA is accurately quantified independently at the single molecule level using a target-specific molecular program; 2) the exploration of molecular neural networks (MolNNet) for direct recognition of concentration patterns. This objective involves sophisticated molecular program architectures that take as inputs multiple microRNA concentrations, then carry out signal processing and report the sample type (e.g. “healthy” or “diseased”).
This project is highly interdisciplinary, gathering expertise in DNA nanotechnology, microfluidics and surface chemistry. The expected outcomes include the advance of cutting-edge microRNA quantification technologies combining single-molecule amplification with a multiplex readout (up to 100 targets). In the long term, the exploration of in moleculo neural networks is foreseen to trigger a whole new field of research, providing a ground-breaking approach for molecular diagnostics.