A pinboard by
Dinh-Tuan Phan

Postdoc, National University of Singapore


To provide the right drug at the right time for precision medicine, a sensor capable of continuously monitoring target biomolecules secreted from a patient under dynamic situation is important. Here, a novel integrative device combining an aptamer probe and a nanofluidic component is developed, enabling buffer-free continuously monitoring small biomolecules in biological fluids. By miniaturizing into a wearable device, this integrative device could be used for remote health condition monitoring, as a novel platform for precision medicine.


Regulation of protein-ligand binding affinity by hydrogen bond pairing.

Abstract: Hydrogen (H)-bonds potentiate diverse cellular functions by facilitating molecular interactions. The mechanism and the extent to which H-bonds regulate molecular interactions are a largely unresolved problem in biology because the H-bonding process continuously competes with bulk water. This interference may significantly alter our understanding of molecular function, for example, in the elucidation of the origin of enzymatic catalytic power. We advance this concept by showing that H-bonds regulate molecular interactions via a hitherto unappreciated donor-acceptor pairing mechanism that minimizes competition with water. On the basis of theoretical and experimental correlations between H-bond pairings and their effects on ligand binding affinity, we demonstrate that H-bonds enhance receptor-ligand interactions when both the donor and acceptor have either significantly stronger or significantly weaker H-bonding capabilities than the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in water. By contrast, mixed strong-weak H-bond pairings decrease ligand binding affinity due to interference with bulk water, offering mechanistic insight into why indiscriminate strengthening of receptor-ligand H-bonds correlates poorly with experimental binding affinity. Further support for the H-bond pairing principle is provided by the discovery and optimization of lead compounds targeting dietary melamine and Clostridium difficile toxins, which are not realized by traditional drug design methods. Synergistic H-bond pairings have therefore evolved in the natural design of high-affinity binding and provide a new conceptual framework to evaluate the H-bonding process in biological systems. Our findings may also guide wider applications of competing H-bond pairings in lead compound design and in determining the origin of enzymatic catalytic power.

Pub.: 07 Apr '16, Pinned: 26 Aug '17

Wearable/disposable sweat-based glucose monitoring device with multistage transdermal drug delivery module.

Abstract: Electrochemical analysis of sweat using soft bioelectronics on human skin provides a new route for noninvasive glucose monitoring without painful blood collection. However, sweat-based glucose sensing still faces many challenges, such as difficulty in sweat collection, activity variation of glucose oxidase due to lactic acid secretion and ambient temperature changes, and delamination of the enzyme when exposed to mechanical friction and skin deformation. Precise point-of-care therapy in response to the measured glucose levels is still very challenging. We present a wearable/disposable sweat-based glucose monitoring device integrated with a feedback transdermal drug delivery module. Careful multilayer patch design and miniaturization of sensors increase the efficiency of the sweat collection and sensing process. Multimodal glucose sensing, as well as its real-time correction based on pH, temperature, and humidity measurements, maximizes the accuracy of the sensing. The minimal layout design of the same sensors also enables a strip-type disposable device. Drugs for the feedback transdermal therapy are loaded on two different temperature-responsive phase change nanoparticles. These nanoparticles are embedded in hyaluronic acid hydrogel microneedles, which are additionally coated with phase change materials. This enables multistage, spatially patterned, and precisely controlled drug release in response to the patient's glucose level. The system provides a novel closed-loop solution for the noninvasive sweat-based management of diabetes mellitus.

Pub.: 28 Mar '17, Pinned: 26 Aug '17

Real-time, aptamer-based tracking of circulating therapeutic agents in living animals.

Abstract: A sensor capable of continuously measuring specific molecules in the bloodstream in vivo would give clinicians a valuable window into patients' health and their response to therapeutics. Such technology would enable truly personalized medicine, wherein therapeutic agents could be tailored with optimal doses for each patient to maximize efficacy and minimize side effects. Unfortunately, continuous, real-time measurement is currently only possible for a handful of targets, such as glucose, lactose, and oxygen, and the few existing platforms for continuous measurement are not generalizable for the monitoring of other analytes, such as small-molecule therapeutics. In response, we have developed a real-time biosensor capable of continuously tracking a wide range of circulating drugs in living subjects. Our microfluidic electrochemical detector for in vivo continuous monitoring (MEDIC) requires no exogenous reagents, operates at room temperature, and can be reconfigured to measure different target molecules by exchanging probes in a modular manner. To demonstrate the system's versatility, we measured therapeutic in vivo concentrations of doxorubicin (a chemotherapeutic) and kanamycin (an antibiotic) in live rats and in human whole blood for several hours with high sensitivity and specificity at subminute temporal resolution. We show that MEDIC can also obtain pharmacokinetic parameters for individual animals in real time. Accordingly, just as continuous glucose monitoring technology is currently revolutionizing diabetes care, we believe that MEDIC could be a powerful enabler for personalized medicine by ensuring delivery of optimal drug doses for individual patients based on direct detection of physiological parameters.

Pub.: 29 Nov '13, Pinned: 26 Aug '17