U.S. Patent issued to Plumley et al. for "Compact Biosensor"

May 26, 2017

John Plumley

John Plumley

U.S. Patent No. 9,655,553, “Compact biosensor of matrix metalloproteinase with cadmium free quantum dots," has been issued to Plumley et al. by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). John Plumley is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the The University of New Mexico's (UNM) Center for High Technology Materials (CHTM). Co-inventors are Marek Osiński, Professor with the UNM Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and CHTM; and Erin Milligan, Associate Professor in the UNM Department of Neurosciences.

USPTO Patent Seal on Document


The invention provides a quantum dot (QD) modified optical fiber-based biosensor which characterizes matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) enzyme activity at pain signaling sites in the central nervous system (CNS) in vivo. Related systems and peptide biomarker screening methods are also provided.


Given that existing pain treatments (which primarily target neurons) reduce pain by only around 25-40% in less than half of the 15 million patients suffering from chronic neuropathic pain in the US, there is a need for new methods to identify and investigate pain-related cellular processes beyond only neuronal function.

Of the pain drugs currently available, opioid analgesics are the gold standard despite their addiction liabilities. A biomarker for neuropathic pain does not exist despite the need to objectively identify those individuals in need of treatment.

Further, the neuron centered view of pain processing is changing, and non-neuronal targets are emerging, including glial cells and leukocytes that enrich the spinal cord and other central nervous system sites (CNS) critical for pathological pain signaling. Thus, it is possible that by targeting non-neuronal signaling mechanisms, a novel biomarker to identify neuropathic pain may emerge.


U.S. Patent No. 9,655,553

John Plumley earned his Ph.D. in Nanoscience and Microsystems from UNM in 2014, focusing on Nano-Bio interfaces, advised by Professor Jeffrey Brinker of the UNM Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering. Plumley's research involved exploring the state of cells integrated in silica matrices, which could lead to novel approaches in interrogating cellular processes, biosensors and even vaccines.

Marek Osinski

Marek Osiński

Marek Osiński holds joint professorships with UNM's Physics and Astronomy and Computer Science departments. He is also an ECE member of the Optical Science and Engineering (OSE) Graduate Committee, the governing body of the OSE program.

Osiński is a Fellow of the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) (‘02); a Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA) (’03); a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society, and IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (‘15); and a member of the Materials Research Society. He has authored or co-authored over 500 technical papers and five book chapters. He also co-edited 23 books of SPIE conference proceedings on “Physics and Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices” and 18 other SPIE volumes in the fields of advanced high-power lasers, optoelectronics, nano-biophotonics, and colloidal nanoparticles for biomedical applications.

Osiński holds 16 UNM-affiliated U.S. issued patents.

Osiński's main current research interests include semiconductor ring lasers, monolithically integrated optoelectronic circuits, colloidal nanocrystals for biomedical applications, nanoscintillators, nanophosphors, hybrid nanocrystals for solar hydrogen production, radiation effects on optoelectronic devices, neutron detectors, and comprehensive simulation of optoelectronic devices.