T.-Cossa Lab Research Page Banner

Research

Nanopore Science

Our research is dedicated to the development of novel techniques and methods to manipulate and characterize single-molecules using nanopore devices, to unravel the basic physics governing the behaviour of biological molecules and polymers in nanoconfined geometries, and ultimately to translate these discoveries into new tools for the Life sciences, medical diagnostics, or next-generation data storage.

TEM images of CBD pores

nanopore Fabrication

by controlled breakdown

We invented nanopore fabrication by controlled breakdown (CBD), a simple, rapid, and cost-effective method for creating individual solid-state nanopores directly in solution (e.g. 1M KCl pH8). Conventional transmission electron and focused ion beam pore drilling methods were slow, cumbersome, suffered from low yield, and required expensive equipment operated by expert users. In contrast, our CBD method consists in simply applying an electric field across a solid-state membrane, with a strength that is near the dielectric breakdown strength of the membrane.  A tunneling current is monitored until a sharp increase indicates the spontaneous formation of a nanopore and the onset of ionic current. The pore size can be precisely enlarged by applying time-varying voltage waveforms.

To learn more check out our original article in PLoS ONE and our Nature Protocols that presents our accumulated knowledge of nanopore fabrication by CBD since the initial publication of the method, and freely provide to the research community a software, plans for building the hardware and our latest protocols required to reliably automate fabrication of low noise, precisely sized, solid-state nanopores.

If you are interested in a turn-key solution contact Northern Nanopore Instruments.

We are continuing to expand the fabrication capabilities of CBD, in terms of speed, precision, and array size.

Learn more about the control breakdown fabrication here.

Fundamentals of Nanopore Translocation

Fundamentals of Molecular Transport

Elucidating the dynamics of capture and passage through nanopores

We study the fundamentals of the molecular capture and passage through nanopores. In addition to linear DNA polymers under various experimental conditions, we explore the transport properties nanostructured DNA (origami), proteins and DNA-protein complexes. We also investigate how molecular conformation, as well as entropic and enthalpic forces, influence the dynamics of passage by creating advanced nanopore devices to manipulate individual molecules before capture.

Biosensing Nanopore projects

Biosensing & Digital Assays

with single-molecule counting

We are developing biosensing techniques and digital assays by rapidly and accurately counting single-molecules electrically with nanopores. We are performing proof-of-concepts for diagnostic applications with complex biofluids and clinical samples. We are also developing tools and methods for accurately extracting capture rate information and measuring molecular concentration from nanopore data.

nanopore in a microfluidic device

Integration with microfluidics

for Lab-on-chip applications and parallelization

In collaboration with the GodinLab, we are developing various types of microfluidic devices to integrate different sample manipulation capabilities with nanopore sensing. We are also using 3D printing to easily prototype milli- and microfluidic devices.

Interested in doing research in our group
or
collaborating?