Summary Report

The interfacing of bio-molecules to nanostructures, electrode surfaces and/or optical components constitutes the new discipline of bioelectronics, based on electron transfer between a protein and an electrode, which can be monitored by amperometric techniques. The integration of bio-molecules with electronics has strong potential for applications in a variety of functional devices, ranging from biosensors to solar fuel cells.

Typically, a bio-electronic device consists of an assembly of redox-active proteins on a conducting electrode such that the electron transfer process can be transformed into a measurable output signal by electronic transduction. The EdRox project has shown that direct coupling of the protein to an electrode by surface assembly offers important advantages from a technological point of view in terms of efficiency, reactivity, specificity, selectivity and sensitivity. Important factors that were explored in this project were: optimization of electrical contact, biocompatibility of the interface, and control over alignment and orientation of the surface-assembled bio-molecules.  EdRox was successful in improving protocols for immobilization and mono-layer formation of bio-molecules on electrode surfaces. Furthermore, it was shown to be advantageous to engineer a linker or an electron-relay unit between the electrode and the bio-molecules as a conduit for electrons, improving electrical contact. 

Training of ESRs/ERs

The EdRox Network has provided a total of 353 person months of training in scientific research to early stage and experienced researchers (ESRs and ERs, respectively). From the outset the partners in the EdRox network were committed to ensure that the ESRs would attain a PhD at the end of the project. It is gratifying to see that 8 ESRs will receive a PhD based on their work in EdRox, even when it means in nearly all cases a necessity to extend their contract and to add financial resources beyond the provisions of  EdRox funding. 

Training of ESRs was provided in fundamental science, experimental skills, communication skills, and career development. Experimental training was offered to ESR and ER fellows  in the network  through participation in and initiation of research projects.  Of note here is the essential role of the ERs within the network: all ESRs in the network have been trained by them in one or more technical aspects of the work. The seven network meetings have been an important vehicle for training through lectures delivered by EdRox staff and others.  In addition, the network meetings also provided an opportunity for the fellows to practice their communication skills since they were required to give a presentation about their work and research achievements at each meeting. They participated in the management meetings of the Steering Committee, a valuable opportunity to engage in the planning of research activities and the evaluation of the project.

Secondments have been instrumental to exchange expertise between partners, and confer additional skills to the ESR fellows. The fellows were encouraged to actively participate in conferences, workshops, summerschools, local courses, etc. In the course of the project these participations added up to a large number, providing exposure of the EdRox activities, while at the same time expanding the scientific horizon of the ESR/ER fellows.

Engagement of researchers in the EdRox project extended well beyond the ESR/ER fellows. A significant number of other PhD students, postdoctoral associates, and staff contributed to the work as well, and participated in the network meetings. It extended the scope of the training and also contributed to the output of the EdRox network.