A Step forward towards Innovation


Hello everyone,

Hope so, all of you will be fine and doing great.

It is my true pleasure to write second blog on FoodSmartPhone platform to share my  experience about Spain and the progress of my research on consigned project by European Commission (EC).  Eventually, I have been arrived in Barcelona to start my new era of life. There was a quite extensive bureaucracy work which I did in order to start my contract such as, resident card, social security and income tax number, room contact, bank account, and medical certificate. Auspiciously, I have done with most of the things, tranquilly I am anticipating for my resident card.

I started work at Nanobiotechnology for Diagnostics (Nb4D) research group, Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) under the supervision of Prof. M.-Pilar Marco and Dr. J.-Pablo Salvador. All peoples welcomed me warmly. I am happy to have such a nice and cooperative lab fellows.

Herein, I would like to mention about stunning weather, Barcelona enjoys a mediterranean climate with mild-cool winter and warm summer suitable for sunbathing. It has several beaches around the city. Snowfalls are not prevalent in the city. It is a sunny city and suitable for me to travel.

Because of bureaucracy work, I could visit only one place, Las Ramblas de Barcelona, located in center of the city and popular street that attracts both locals and tourists. Middle part of Rambla is specified for pedestrians and is bordered with beautiful trees. Here you will find an abundance of street artists, kiosks, and stalls of flower. Moreover, Aristeidis Tsagkaris, ESR6 is here in our lab for his secondment. I am really pleased  to meet him. Together with other lab fellows we will go to explore the city soon.

I also have shortlisted some stunning places of Barcelona, where I will visit in coming days to see the exquisiteness in reality. I studied the history of that places and would like to share with all of you.

Gothic Quarter: The beautiful neighbourhood known as the Gothic Quarter is so called because it used to be the Roman village and thus has some remnants of its glorious past. These days because of the constant modernization it is easy to spot an ancient building right next to one built in the 90s.

Gothic Quarter
The charming Gothic Quarter, or Barri Gòtic

Picasso museum: Five medieval palaces linked together to make a museum . It has one of the most extensive collections of artworks by the 20th-century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. The genius of the young artist is revealed through the more than 3,500 works that make up the permanent collection. It also reveals his relationship with Barcelona: an intimate, solid relationship that was shaped in his adolescence and youth, and continued until his death.

The amazing art gallery inside Museum Picasso

Park Güell: The Park Güell-a public park system composed of gardens and architectonic elements located on Carmel Hill, Barcelona. Carmel Hill belongs to the mountain range of Collserola-the Parc del Carmel is located on the northern face. Park Güell is located in La Salut, a neighborhood in the Gràcia district of Barcelona. With urbanization in mind, Eusebi Güell assigned the design of the park to Antoni Gaudí, a renowned architect.

The Parc Güell, was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1984

Regarding the project, “DNA-addressable arrays for multiplex ligand binding assays with optical smartphone readout”, main objective of the project is to develop LSPR chip using direct DNA immobilization (DDI) for multiplex ligand-binding assay with opto-fluid-based smartphone read out system. The customized barcode DNA (bcDNA) will be used for the sit-encoded specific immobilization of nanoparticles with plasmonic properties. The target molecules will be captured by antibodies immobilized on nanoparticles, which will be evaluating by ELISA.

The interaction of nanoparticles with bcDNA for specific target molecule will enhance the sensitivity of array and transduction value will comes in term of localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR). For proof-of-concept the sample flow through the microfluidic channel which will be attach with dark field microscope channel to confirm the difference in signaling with target and non-target molecule. The optical sensor will generate signal in the presence of target antibiotics which will be read out by smartphone.

In order to develop the anticipated device, following steps would be follow

  • Antibiotics: Selection of the pertinent antibiotics by keeping the view of their importance in food.
  • The detection of these antibiotics by employing immunoassays.
  • Real sample: The complex biological matrix would be a spiked milk
  • Multiplex assay: The selection of different families of antibiotics would be monitored. The design of biobarcode DNA for specific target biomolecule would be a part of this project.
  • LSPR effect: The transducing principle will be based on LSPR, intrinsic property of nanoparticles.
  • Microfluidics: A system that carries the sample to the detection chamber will be integrated with the system.
  • Integrated system: All components would be integrated into one unit and this will be an optical smartphone read out system.

As I mentioned in my first blog about my love, biosensor. I am happy to share that we are very happy in Barcelona. I don’t know what will happen with us in future, will it be with me or not, sanguine for the best. Hopefully, in my next blog I will come up with good results in regards to project and more information about my living in Barcelona. Thank you for reading my blog.

Regards, Raheel


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