Academic Profile : No longer with NTU

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Dr Alessandra Bonanni
Senior Lecturer, School of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology
Alessandra Bonanni received her Ph.D. from Universtitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain). She then moved to Japan as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba. Currently, she is Senior Lecturer at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. Her research interest is focused on the use of novel nanomaterials for the development of electrochemical devices for food analysis and biomedical applications. She has published over 80 peer-reviewed articles and has an H-index of 35.
Biosensor technologies

Biosensors are analytical tools which combine a biorecognition agent which provides selectivity and a transducer that confers sensitivity and can convert the biorecognition event into a measurable electronic signal. The advantage of using biosensor over traditional techniques is represented by their low costs, small dimensions, portability, and fast response. The different areas for potential biosensor applications are mainly medical diagnosis, environmental monitoring and food analysis.

DNA analysis

DNA analysis is of extreme importance to solve problems of different nature such as investigation on genetic diseases, detection of food and water contamination by microorganism, studies on breeding origins or tissue matching, and solution of forensic issues. The techniques for genome identification are nowadays mainly based on DNA sequencing by using fluorescent labels and optical detectors. They require a few days for the analysis to be completed and the costs are prohibitive to the general public. Demand has never been greater for innovative technologies which can provide fast, inexpensive and reliable genome information.

The focus of my research is on the development of analytical tools (biosensors) for the rapid, reliable and low cost identification of DNA sequences. In order to achieve that, different electrochemical techniques are used for the detection of the analytical signal. The developed biosensors are based on various platforms (such as gold, carbon and silicon) and different nanomaterials (i.e. gold nanoparticles, graphene nanoplatelets and several quantum dots) are employed for the amplification of the obtained signal and the improvement of detection limit.
The final step of this work is the application of the developed genosensor to real sample analysis. Once this second part is successfully accomplished, the analytical tool could be eventually integrated into a DNA amplification process, resulting in a portable device for point-of-care diagnostic tests and for very sensitive detection of SNPs correlated to different diseases.

Food Analysis

This field includes research in the two following areas:

- Application of DNA genosensors to identify of DNA sequences correlated to bacteria involved in food contamination (i.e. Salmonella spp, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli)
- Development of electrochemical biosensors for the detection of antioxidant capacity of food and beverages
  • Detection of COVID-19 infection: Development of a portable and low-cost electrochemical device based on 2D electroactive nano-platforms for the rapid and multiplex identification of SARS-CoV-2 viral sequences