Whole Cell Biosensor Array for Monitoring Multiple Targets in Parallel

Agranat Aharon, HUJI, School of Computer Science and Engineering, Applied Physics
Belkin Shimshon, HUJI, Faculty of Science, The Alexander Silberman Institute for Life Sciences

Single detector interrogates and analyses complex signals from whole-cell biosensors



Applied Physics, Optoelectronics / Photonics, Cleantech, Homeland Security, Life Science and Biotechnology, Diagnostics

Development Stage

General proof of concept



  • Single detector scans and analyses fluorescence signals from array of whole, functioning, genetically-engineered reporter cells
  • Simple means for detecting very complex series of reactions taking place in intact cells to assay global biological effects such as toxicity, genotoxicity or bioavailability
  • Applications in medical research, drug screening, clinical diagnosis, bioprocess monitoring, water/air pollution control, biological and chemical agents/explosive/radioactive detection.

Our Innovation

Ultra-sensitive fluorescent electro-optic biosensors (EOBS) that sample the biochemical response from an array of microbial sensor cells, each of which is genetically engineered to sense the presence of a specific substance or group of substances. The fluorescent signal emitted by each element in the microarray can be modulated at a specific frequency and its intensity governed independently so that the entire array can be sampled in parallel by a single detector.


Key Features

  • Dynamic range and sensitivity can be tailored individually for each element in the array
  • Rapid measurements of large sample arrays, high sensitivity and specificity, good reliability and repeatability and low operational expenses

The Opportunity

  • The estimated world analytical market is about $24 billion per year of which 30% is in healthcare. Less than 0.1% of this market is currently using biosensors
  • Future applications involving nucleic acid or protein arrays based on same principles in novel type of array biosensors with enhanced signal analysis capabilities

Patent Status

Granted US 8,198,606

Contact for more information:

Matt Zarek