December 06, 2023

A significant advancement in immunoassay technologies has emerged with the introduction of a new method that integrates antibodies and DNA nanotechnology into the detection process. This innovative approach simplifies biosensing—particularly in non-traditional laboratory settings—providing a robust tool for a range of applications in biomedical research, clinical diagnostics, and environmental monitoring. 

Outlined in a recent paper, “Coupling Single Domain Antibodies to Catalytic Hairpin Assemblies for Homogeneous Assays,” the method introduces a novel strategy involving the coupling of single-domain antibodies with nucleic acid circuits. This process utilizes a pair of antibody constructs, each equipped with a modified DNA sequence. As both inputs bind to the target molecule, a signal is generated through the engineered circuit, enabling efficient and rapid detection.

What sets this method apart is the utilization of advanced DNA nanoscience technology—known for its modularity and adaptability. This inherent flexibility allows for the accommodation of new biomarker targets with fast design turn-around time, making it a versatile tool for evolving research needs.

Notably, the success of this research can be attributed to a robust collaboration between the United States Naval Research Laboratory (U.S. NRL) and The Catholic University of America. The collaboration, facilitated by a research grant funded through the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), highlights the effectiveness of interdisciplinary partnerships in pushing the boundaries of scientific innovation. The combined expertise of researchers from both institutions—including Dr. Hieu Bui from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science—has paved the way for a method that promises to revolutionize immunoassay techniques, offering enhanced sensitivity and efficiency in target detection.

As the scientific community eagerly anticipates the practical implications of this research, it underscores the importance of collaborative efforts in driving advancements at the intersection of biotechnology, molecular biology, computer science, and materials science. The breakthrough method not only represents a milestone in immunoassay technology, but also opens avenues for further exploration and refinement in the realm of biosensing, diagnostics, and drug delivery.


Liu, J. L., Zabetakis, D., Shriver‐Lake, L. C., Anderson, G. P., Goldman, E. R., & Bui, H. (2023). “Coupling single domain antibodies to catalytic hairpin assemblies for homogeneous assays.” Advanced Sensor Research.