Belfort Group

Biomolecular Separations Research Group
Howard P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
and Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180, USA


Sensors for Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease

The frequency of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other neurological diseases is expected to rise exponentially during the next 30-40 years.  Although there is no successful treatment for AD, a critical need is to detect the disease early so that possible treatments can be tested before it is too late.  We plan here to develop a sensor for early detection of the Abeta peptide (Aβ1-42), a marker for AD, with nucleic aptamer selective binding technology.  We establish the foundation for such a sensor with overall objectives that include (i) discovering RNA-aptamers and selective monoclonal anitbodies that strongly bind to Aβ1-42 oligomers


(ii) incorporating these high binders into a molecular mass and dissipation sensor (Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation), and (iii) validating the sensor in Aβ1-42 oligomer-spiked cerebrospinal fluid.  We are collaborating with Marlene Belfort, Paul Agris and Hua Shi, UAlbany and Earl Zimmerman, Albany Medical College and K. Dane Wittrup, MIT, on the monoclonal antibody approach.