BioSensor Materials for Advanced Research & Technology Center

Organization profile

The mission of the BioSensor Materials for Advanced Research & Technology (BioSMART) Center is to understand how biological systems communicate with their surroundings by gathering data with sensors on their internal states and environments, measuring the information, and then using that knowledge to develop innovative sensing technologies that employ sustainable materials and greener environmental processes. BioSMART seeks to meet society’s need for fully autonomous, self-aware and resilient intelligent chemical and biological sensor systems by learning – and designing –  from nature. Biological systems, without exception, are SMART sensors. Their behavior is the result of a complex web of interactions between sensory inputs and physiological processes that implements cognitive functions to allow the organism to perform efficiently. The BioSMART team has developed innovative biosensors for ultrasensitive detection of  Staphylococci Enterotoxin B, the microorganisms that compose biofilms, nucleic acid mutations, E. coli, Bacillus globigii and numerous environmental pollutants: chromium VI; lead; polychlorinated biphenyls; microcystins; organophosphates;  nitrobenzenes; and endocrine disrupting chemicals. One of our technologies has been translated to a portable, fully autonomous, remotely operated sensing device known as an Ultra-Sensitive Portable Capillary Sensor or U-PAC.  Some of our earlier sensors have been used for the detection of trace uranium and vanadium. Current projects include environmental sensors for COVID-19, pain biosensors, sustainable nanomaterials, biodegradable polymers, and new diagnostic tools and detection devices for medical, environmental and military applications. The wide range of intelligent sensor systems that can become commercial realities through advances pioneered by BioSMART will benefit society in antibiotic resistance monitoring, environmental analysis, wireless sensor networks, robotic sensors, bioremediation and point-of-use ‘smart’ systems.