Panel Discussion with Joan Brennecke, Caryn Heldt, and Julie Liu

Osteoarthritis affects over 30 million adults a year, manifesting in joints such as those in the spine, knees, hands, and hips. One way to diagnose osteoarthritis is to analyze synovial fluid, however, the analysis is often time consuming and incomplete. Finding fast, reliable ways to analyze synovial fluid using electrochemical sensors would be beneficial. More specifically, studying hyaluronic acid, the primary biopolymer in synovial fluid, will lead to a more comprehensive understanding of diagnosis; the imbalance between hyaluronic acid breakdown and regeneration is a cause of osteoarthritis. We studied hyaluronic acid interactions with an elastin-like peptide self-assembled monolayer (SAM) on gold. This SAM is designed to attract charged molecules, which could be useful in the design of an electrochemical sensor. We found that the hyaluronic acid does in fact bind to this elastin-like peptide, allowing us to begin designing a sensor. We now plan to design a sensor for proof-of-concept purposes, using a screen-printed electrode for drop analysis.