In particular, for fast readout procedures, as needed e.g. in critical care diagnostics and high-throughput screening, a single output signal produced by a logic operation of two (or more) inputs has many advantages, such as a much shorter analysis time. Furthermore, complex analytical questions can be reduced to straight forward YES/NO output signals, which can be read out e.g. by non-trained persons in healthcare or fully automized. Due to restrictions in the current concept of such molecular logic sensors, examples of their application in intracellular diagnostics are extremely rare.
In LOGIC LAB, we aim to develop a new concept for molecular logic sensors, thus further paving the way for their application in intracellular diagnostics. In this concept, we combine the knowledge from classical molecular logic gates with state-of-the-art research approaches in synthetic, supramolecular and theoretical chemistry, spectroscopy as well as cell biology and microfluidics to create a new type of supramolecular logic gate: functionalized sensor molecules assembled in a supramolecular vesicle such as a liposome or polymersome form the molecular logic entity. This lab-on-a-vesicle exhibits innovative functionalities: the flexible choice of analytical inputs, tunable functionalization and tailored photophysical properties, e.g. suitable for excitation with low-energy light in cells and tissue. With the combined and complementary expertise of the LOGIC LAB consortium we will bring intracellular molecular logic sensing out of its niche existence by derestricting some of the limitations that hitherto prevent their wide-ranging application in biology or medical research.
The research program and broad expertise of the LOGIC LAB consortium provide a unique environment, in which 14 Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) will be trained to work interdisciplinary and intersectoral – crucial points to tackle the complex research approach. The scientific element of the training program includes training at the host institution as well as at the network level, e.g. during secondments.
A key feature of the ESR training is the complementary training tailored to the needs of natural scientists provided by the partner organisation Schiller&Mertens. The ESRs will be trained to identify and use their transferable skills such as personal management, presentation and writing skills. The complementary training also covers gender-specific topics.