A team from Professor Palmore's lab consisting of two grad students (Steve Rhieu and Vince Siu) and one undergraduate (Daniel Ludwig, '09) is in the Finalist round of the BMEIdea 2009 competition on June 9th – June 11th, in New York City, New York. This work was made possible by an OVPR seed grant and has a preliminary patent application submitted.
Here is the brief project summary:
We propose a new methodology to measure vitamin D levels in serum using electrochemical detection. Vitamin D is a prohormone that is hydroxylated in the liver to become 25(OH)D, which is further hydroxylated in the kidney by the enzyme CYP27B1 to become the biologically active form. The electrochemical approach is based on the hypothesis that the hydroxylation of 25(OH)D can be measured via the catalytic reaction of CYP27B1 immobilized on an electrode. The reaction requires a supply of electrons, generating a detectable current that is proportional to the concentration of 25(OH)D. Similar to a commercial glucose meter, our proposed vitamin D biosensor will use a disposable testing strip that is inserted in the portable device along with a sub-microliter sample. The sample is analyzed and the result is displayed both qualitatively and quantitatively on a liquid crystal display. Specific recognition of 25(OH)D by a CYP27B1-based electrode system eliminates the need for extensive extraction and/or purification of the sample allowing for inexpensive, accurate, and rapid measurements.