Bio-Inspired Technologies for Monitoring Human and Environmental Health

A.L. Furst
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
United States

Keywords: electrochemistry, human health, environmental remediation


Significant effort has been devoted to developing technologies that effectively mimic biological processes, but these methods often fail to replicate the efficiency and selectivity of native systems. We have found that, by combining chemistry with the inherent activity of biomolecules and microbes, we can improve upon conventional technologies for human and environmental health monitoring. Specifically, by combining biomolecular activity with inexpensive sensing, we can detect viral infections. Similarly, using synthetic biology, we can engineer microbes to both degrade and detect harmful environmental pollutants. Through these technologies, we have consistently found that the combination of chemistry and biomolecular engineering affords advantages beyond the capabilities of either technology alone.