ICREA Research Professor and leader of the ICN2 Nanobioelectronics and Biosensors Group, Arben Merkoçi obtained his PhD at the University of Tirana (Albania) in ion selective electrodes. Since 1992 he has carried out research as postdoctoral fellow and research professor at the Polytechnic University of Budapest (Hungary), University of Ioannina (Greece), Università degli Studi di Padova (Italy), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and New Mexico State University (USA). His research is focused on the integration of biological molecules and other species with micro- and nanostructures of interest in the design of novel (bio)sensors.
Prof. Merkoçi is Co-Editor in Chief of Biosensors and Bioelectronics, the principal international journal devoted to research, design development and application of biosensors and bioelectronics, member of editorial board of Electroanalysis, Microchimica Acta and other journals.
Prof. Merkoçi has published 319 articles (H-index / citations: Google Scholar 84 / 23977; WOS 70 / 17682) and supervised 35 PhD theses. He is also involved in teaching PhD courses in the field of nanomaterial-based biosensors in several Spanish and international centres.
He has been a member of the commission for establishing the new Nanoscience and Nanotechnology undergraduate academic curriculum at the UAB, the first one in Spain, which started during the academic year 2010-2011. He is a member of the Academics Working Group of BIST and coordinator of the Nanodiagnostics module of the Nanotechnology Master at the UAB.
He has got several national and international grants related to nanomaterials application in biosensors and his group is collaborating with several worldwide leading labs in the field of nanobiosensors.
Prof. Merkoçi serves also as scientific evaluator and member of panels of experts of various international governmental and nongovernmental agencies (EU-FP and EU-ERC panels and other panels in Europe, USA and other countries), as a scientific committee member of many international congresses, director of several workshops and other scientific events and have been invited to give plenary lectures, keynote and invited speeches in more than 200 occasions in various countries. Prof. Merkoçi is the co-founder of two spin-off companies: GraphenicaLab, devoted to graphene patterning, and PaperDrop, dedicated to clinical diagnostics.
Nowadays health system is requesting more and more efficient diagnostics devices to afford everyday needs all over the world. The demand for point of care devices (POCs) for use at doctor offices or by people in need in any place in the world is increased due to various clinical scenarios including overall emergencies like pandemics. The development of such devices is strongly related to new materials and technologies being nanomaterials and nanotechnology of special role. We study how new nanomaterials such as nanoparticles or graphene can be integrated into simple sensing platforms thanks to their advantageous properties. Beside plastic platforms physical, chemical and mechanical properties of cellulose in both micro and nanofiber-based networks combined with their abundance in nature or easy to prepare and control procedures are making these materials of great interest while looking for cost-efficient and green alternatives for device production technologies. These devices should be REASSURED: Real-time connectivity, Ease of specimen collection, Affordable, Sensitive, Specific, User-friendly, Rapid, Robust, Equipment-free, Delivered to those who need it. How to design simple plastic/paper-based biosensor architectures including wearables through printing or stamping? How to tune their analytical performance upon demand? How one can couple nanomaterials with paper/plastics and what is the benefit? Which are the perspectives to link these simple platforms and detection technologies with mobile communication? I will try to give responses to these questions through various interesting applications related to protein, DNA and even bacteria and viruses with extreme interest for clinical emergency applications. The developed platforms and related technologies are related to ubiquitous methods that would be quite important for democratising diagnosis and improving the evidence-based healthcare coverage all over the world.