2014/703 Laboratory visit to Carlton University, Canada to work with Dr. Maria DeRosa
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2014/703 Laboratory visit to Carlton University, Canada to work with Dr. Maria DeRosa


By Valeria Torok



A major focus of Seafood CRC funded project (2011/726: Wanted Dead or Alive - Novel Technologies for Measuring Infectious Norovirus Particles) is the development of sensitive biosensors for the detection and discrimination of infective human norovirus (NoV). A critical step in achieving this is the biological functionalisation of the sensor platform.


Dr Torok spent two weeks during 2014 in the laboratory of Dr Maria DeRosa undertaking experiments to generate specific bioreceptors (aptamers) for human norovirus (NoV). The De Rosa Laboratory is actively involved in the development of biosensors and ‘smart’ materials based on DNA aptamers. Aptamers are single-stranded oligonucleotides that fold into distinct three-dimensional conformations, capable of binding strongly and selectively to a target molecule and have several advantages over antibody based approaches. The DeRosa group is developing aptamers to various targets including neurotransmitters, viruses, disease biomarkers and toxins, as well as utilising these in the development of electrochemical and optical biosensors.


The international laboratory visit enabled detailed discussions and interaction with peers in the field for biosensor production. During the visit, Dr Torok was invited to give a presentation at Carlton University on her Australian research. She was also invited to give the same presentation at Health Canada, Bureau of Microbial Hazards in Ottawa. Following this presentation she was shown their diagnostic laboratories involved in foodborne virus research and the development of “laboratory on a chip” technology.