Organic Bioelectronics for Biosensing

Using conjugated polymers to build new biosensors and biointerfaces

Illustration of organs being investigated with conjugated polymers
Illustration of the current range of organs being investigated by the organic bioelectronic community.

I explore the use of conjugated polymers to develop a new types of biosensor and biointerfaces. My primary focus is developing a new type of biosensor for use in the early detection of breast cancer.

I use conjugated polymers (plastics that can semi-conduct electricity) to build devices that interface with cells, tissues and biological fluids.

Unlike silicon-based electronics, organic bioelectronic devices are sensitive to ions (which are the primary charge carrier of electrical signals inside living things).1

Read our review about the use of conjugated polymers as interfaces with the human body

Organic transistor-based multiplexed detection of breast cancer miRNA biomarkers

Early detection and intervention is key to improving survial outcomes in cancer patients. There is a concerted effort within the research community to focus on new techniques and approaches, with the launch of the CRUK’s Early Detection and Diagnosis of Cancer Roadmap in late 2020. This includes investigating new technologies that can test for specific cancers, in this case breast cancer.

My research, funded by a Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Early Detection Primer Award, combines my prior background in organic electronics with my bioengineering experience to build a new type of biosensor for analysing blood samples.

  1. Redrawn from: Higgins SG, Lo Fiego A, Patrick I, Creamer A, Stevens MM, Organic Bioelectronics: Using Highly Conjugated Polymers to Interface with Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissues in the Human Body, 2020, Advanced Materials Technologies. DOI: 10.1002/admt.202000384 ↩︎