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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Vincent M. Rotello

Subject Categories

Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Biotechnology | Environmental Health | Nanotechnology | Toxicology


Efficient detection of proteins, mammalian cells, microorganisms and other biological systems in complex mixture is essential in disease diagnosis and environmental health. Therefore, technological platforms that provide sensors of high sensitivity, selectivity and stability are greatly desired. Recently, the ‘chemical-nose’ sensing approach has proved to be an effective strategy for profiling bio-relevant targets in complex mixtures. Detecting analytes in complex mixture is a challenge that conventional specificity-based sensors are still trying to solve due to the requirement of prior knowledge of the analyte, which is unknown in many cases. This thesis focuses on how to develop simple and robust chemical-nose sensors for complex mixtures using supramolecular interactions between nanoparticles, fluorescent proteins, enzymes, and fluorescent polymers. We have successfully developed effective sensors for many healthcare applications including chemotherapeutic drug profiling, cancer diagnostics, environmental toxicity and bacterial detection. Throughout this dissertation, there is an emphasis on moving from high-content screening to point-of-care testing, especially in cancer diagnostics. Overall, the chemical-nose sensors provide a simple generic tool for bio-relevant analyte profiling, avoiding additional processing steps prior to screening as seen in traditional methods. More importantly, chemical-nose sensors hold great promise for addressing the needs in personalized screening of disease states and environmental toxicology.