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Congratulations! NEL and UQ investigate how to measure protein concentraction in blood using a ruler....

How do you measure the concentration of a disease biomarker in a blood sample using nothing but jelly and a ruler? Sounds like science-fiction! Actually, its a very old method, developed commercially in the middle of the 20th century, but pretty much lost to the sands of time when monoclonal antibodies and ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays) were developed. "Immunodiffusion" is a classic reaction-diffusion system, in which a blood sample is dispended onto a hydrogel containing a specific antibody, and as the proteins in the blood sample diffuse through the gel, the antibodies react selectively with the target protein of interest. The result? A ring spontaneously appears, without any further steps. OK - well if you want it to happen quickly then you can stain it! But - what are these rings composed of? Well we found that there is actually a number of different proteins in these rings, particularly those associated with lipoprotein complexes. Now we know the basic ring composition, perhaps we can reverse engineer some cool new devices! Congratulations to Dr Imanda Jayawardene and our colleagues at UQ and RMIT.

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