Kshitij RB Singh is a biochemist specializing in nanobiotechnology. He’s currently working on fabricating plant material-based biosensors for the detection and diagnosis of lifestyle diseases. He gives us an insight into the details of his innovative work.
Nanotechnology is the branch of science that examines particles 1–100 nm in size. These nanoparticles have unique electronic, optical, magnetic, and mechanical properties which make them ideal for a variety of applications in the biomedical, agricultural, and environmental fields. My work is focused on the use of nanoparticles derived from phytochemicals in plants to develop biosensors for on-site detection of lifestyle conditions such as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Rapid evolution has meant that humans are facing an ever-increasing number of lifestyle-related diseases. Our group has investigated the burden of lifestyle diseases on the rural-tribal area of Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh, India and found that they occur at higher prevalence, even though this population is supposedly healthier than the urban population. Presently, these diseases are going undiagnosed in the rural Indian population, resulting in fatal consequences. My aim is to develop biosensors for these diseases that can be used for screening programs.
I am currently working on fabricating an immuno- and enzyme-biosensor for the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease using nanocurcumin (derived from the traditional Asian spice C. longa), and chitosan (derived from shrimp shells). Until now, no data has been published for the use of a curcumin/chitosan matrix as an electrochemical biosensor. Our work will open new avenues for the diagnosis of many other diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome, prostate cancer, and more. The use of natural materials means that the biosensors can be cost-effective and eco-friendly and, with an increase in early diagnoses, patients will be able to access proper treatment.
Q: What kind of mindset do you need to achieve the Next Great Impossible?
A: My mindset is complete focus on my end goal – to create cost-effective, real-time, and eco-friendly biosensors from natural materials for the detection of lifestyle diseases.