Singapore Bioimaging Consortium and XLIM to develop new highly sensitive biosensing platform


A*STAR’s Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC) and XLIM (CNRS/ Université de Limoges), a French research institute that focuses on the fields of optics, electromagnetics, electronics, computer science and mathematics, have signed a three-year research collaboration agreement (RCA) to jointly develop a highly sensitive biosensing platform based on the Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) technique.

Source: Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

The growing demand for reliable and robust methodology in medical diagnostics calls for continuous development and advancement of biosensor technologies. For early diagnosis of diseases, biosensor techniques have to be able to detect pathogens and biomarkers at a very low concentration. For example, the immunoassay methods for protein/biomarker sensing are done at a concentration in the range of ng-µg/mL and at a sample volume of the order of tens of microliters.

The new biosensor platform that SBIC and XLIM are working on will have the ability to produce narrow vibrational ‘fingerprint’ spectra coupled with cutting-edge photonic crystal fiber (PCF) technologies. This combination will offer the advantages of molecular fingerprinting of Raman scattering, enormous enhancement factor of SERS and the flexibility of optical PCFs. Furthermore, PCF technologies offer high sensitivity of detection as the bio-analyte can be selectively absorbed into the specially designed air holes that run along the entire length of the fiber.

This project will tap on XLIM’s expertise in design and fabrication of specialty PCFs and SBIC’s expertise in the incorporation of plasmonic nanostructures into the fiber for the sensitive sensing of biomarkers in body fluids using the SERS technique with pico-femto mol sensitivity. Such a sensor would act as an opto-fluidic sensor that enables one-step integrated sample collection and testing for biomarkers, without any sample preparation. Team members of this project collaboration include Prof Malini Olivo and Dr. Dinish U. S from SBIC and Dr Georges Humbert from XLIM.

Prof Malini Olivo, Head, Bio-optical Imaging Group, SBIC, said, “We are very excited about this novel technology, where we can investigate any biomarkers in body fluids with very high sensitivity. It also offers a platform for the detection of biomarkers in extremely small sample volumes, for example in nanolitres. In addition, this concept allows the simultaneous multiplexed detection of biomarkers. We would like to initiate pilot clinical trials using this technology as soon as possible.”

Prof Patrick Cozzone, Executive Director of SBIC, said, “This international research collaboration between Singapore and France is to develop a highly sensitive optical biosensor platform, which has got tremendous potential for clinical translation. The expertise of researchers from SBIC, Singapore and XLIM, France, is important in developing this first of its kind optical fiber-based SERS biosensing platform for the direct analysis of body fluids.”

More details can be read here.

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Scientist-entrepreneur-manager-journalist: -Co-founder, Author; Former Assistant Editor and Director, Biotechin.Asia, Biotech Media Pte. Ltd.; -Founder & CEO, SciGlo (; -Programme Management Officer, SBIC, A*STAR (former Research Fellow). --Sandhya graduated from University of Madras, India (B.Sc Microbiology and M.Sc Biotechnology) and received her Ph.D from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked on oxidative stress in skin, skeletal, adipose tissue and cardiac muscle for a decade from 2006-2016. She is currently working as a Programme Management Officer handling projects and grants at Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Earlier to this she was a Research Fellow in the Fat Metabolism and Stem Cell Group at SBIC. Sandhya was also the Vice President and Publicity Chair of A*PECSS (A*STAR Post Doc Society) (2014-2016). Recently she founded a platform for scientists - SciGlo ( and is a startup mentor at Vertical VC (Finland). She is an ardent lover of science and enjoys globe trotting and good vegetarian food.