Molecularly Imprinted Nanoparticles (MIP NPs) as non-animal antibodies substitutes for detection of viruses

This Fellowship proposal aims to determine if artificial antibodies - molecularly imprinted nanoparticles (MIP NPs) - can be developed as new diagnostic/therapeutic entities in veterinary medicine to directly replace bioassays for a very important infectious disease, avian influenza, which possesses an immense potential for harm to poultry, and also a dangerously high chance to spread from poultry and pigs to humans. To date, the molecular imprinting of polymers represents the most generic, versatile, scalable and cost-effective approach to the creation of synthetic molecular receptors. Recent developments in the automated synthesis of MIP NPs using an immobilised template approach pioneered in the group of Prof. Piletsky meant that for the first time a reliable supply of "soluble" synthetic nanoparticles with pre-determined molecular recognition and/or catalytic properties with sub-nanomolar affinities, defined size and surface chemistry can be made available for testing as potential bioactives. These bioactives may have the potential to detect viruses that are widely circulating in farm animals and indeed humans. Early and accurate identification of the infectious agent will expedite appropriate control and even treatment measures. Therefore, the research into the development of MIP NPs with high affinity coupled with diagnostic technology could be a significant contribution to the scientific advancement and cost effective diagnosis at global scale.

Brahmbhatt H, Poma A, Pendergraff HM, Watts JK, Turner NW (2016). Improvement of DNA recognition through molecular imprinting: hybrid oligomer imprinted polymeric nanoparticles (oligoMIP NPs). Biomater Sci 4(2): 281-7. doi: 10.1039/c5bm00341e.

Poma A, Brahmbhatt H, Pendergraff HM, Watts JK, Turner NW (2015). Generation of novel hybrid aptamer-molecularly imprinted polymeric nanoparticles. Adv Mater 27(4): 750-8. doi: 10.1002/adma.201404235. 


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Principal investigator

Dr Alessandro Poma


University College London

Grant reference number


Award date:

Sep 2014 - Sep 2017

Grant amount