Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Sylvia Daunert


The detection of small molecules in complex sample matrices such as environmental (surface and ground water, sediment, etc.) and biological (blood, serum, plasma, etc.) samples is of paramount importance for monitoring the distribution of environmental pollutants and their patterns of exposure within the population as well as diagnosing and managing diseases. Biosensors have demonstrated a singular ability to sensitively and selectively detect analytes in complex samples without the need for extensive sample preparation and pretreatment. Nature has demonstrated myriad examples of exquisite selectivity in spite of complexity and we seek to take advantage of that attribute in the development of novel biosensing systems.

In the work presented here, we have developed both cell- and proteinbased biosensing systems for the detection of hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls (OH-PCBs) and protein-based sensing systems for the detection of glucose. In the development of a whole-cell sensing system, the regulatory protein, HbpR, and its associated promoter was used to modulate the expression of luciferase. Additionally, the effector binding domain of HbpR, HbpR-A, was isolated and modified with a solvatochromic fluorophore resulting in a proteinbased sensing system. For the detection of glucose, two different glucose binding proteins were engineered in an effort to tailor their characteristics, such as binding affinity and thermal stability, to develop a rugged, sensitive proteinbased sensing system. We envision that these biosensing systems will find applications in the areas of environmental pollutant monitoring and the management and treatment of diseases such as diabetes.

Included in

Chemistry Commons