Jia Yong Lam - Malaysia

Jia-Yong is a second year PhD student in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Universiti Putra Malaysia. His doctoral research focuses on the development of biosensor to improve the current diagnostics for leptospirosis, an often neglected disease, but of global importance. He completed his Bachelor's degree in biomedical science at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, where he studied on genetic polymorphisms associated to nasopharyngeal cancer in his research project. He also holds a Master's degree in molecular medicine and bioengineering from National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan. During his Master's studies, he worked on the discovery of antivirals against dengue virus from natural products. He was awarded honorary membership of the Phi Tau Phi Scholastic Honour Society of the Republic of China for his academic achievements during his two-year stint in Taiwan. Having worked on various scientific fields in his researches, he believes that a multidisciplinary approach in research is the key for a more creative and ground-breaking solution to a problem. Outside the lab, Jia-Yong is an avid home cook and a food enthusiast. To him, doing research is like cooking; you need to plan, get the right materials, optimise the method, enjoy the outcome and finally do the cleaning.

DNA biosensor based on optical fibre for the detection of pathogen: A novel approach

Silica-made optical fibres transmit light through the total internal reflection principle and were originally intended for the use in communications. However, studies eventually discovered their biosensing potential. When light is propagated through the fibre, a portion of the light penetrates the fibre wall into the surrounding medium, recognising the different refractive index in the evanescent field. Thus, immobilising biological recognition elements at the surface allows for the detection of the specific analytes. Tapered optical fibre utilises the special geometries of the fibre to enhance its biosensing potential.

This presentation describes the development of a tapered optical fibre DNA biosensor for the detection of Leptospira DNA, a pathogen responsible for a globally important disease, leptospirosis. Optical fibres are tapered and functionalised by immobilising a DNA capture probe on its surface. The research findings show that the biosensor demonstrated good sensitivity and specificity for detecting Leptospira DNA, and has great potential to be developed into a new model of diagnostic.

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