Tethis is developing solutions for biomedical applications based on innovative nanostructured materials. The focus is on coatings with features including biocompatibility, high surface area, transparency, patterning and integration with microfabrication technologies. This makes Tethis coatings desirable for an optimized interaction with biomolecules and cells in a lot of different applications. We are integrating our novel coatings with tools like microarrays, high content cell-based assays and microfluidic platforms for approaching a range of biological assays.

A remarkable example of this approach regards the development of nano-enhanced disposable MALDI mass-spectrometry plates for Proteomics, Microbiology and advanced Histology.
Here, a nanostructured oxide film having suitable dot-patterned shape is deposited, with a proprietary technology, onto a conductive substrate. Nanoscale porosity is exploited to capture samples and allow processing directly on-plate, into the nanostructured dots, which act as a “solid-state microwell”. Secondary cleaning by water wash (e.g. for salt removal) and Trypsin digestion, in the case of protein samples; Formic Acid membrane lysis in the case of some bacteria/yeast samples, are just few examples of possible on-plate sample processing. An effective hydrophobic barrier at dot border prevents samples, washing solutions and reagents to spread outside the dot area during on-plate processing, as tutorial videos show.

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A second family of nano-enhanced disposable slides has been developed for Molecular Histology (MALDI Imaging). Here, the nanostructured oxide film is deposited onto Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) coated glass slides, as square-shaped patterns. The outperforming adhesion of histological samples onto nanostructured oxide squares prevents sample detachment, tearing or spoiling in case of harsh chemical treatments before MALDI Imaging (e.g. delipidation by Chloroform).
Beside Proteomics, MALDI Imaging based Pharmacokinetics studies, where sample fixation by chemicals (e.g. Acetone) is excluded a-priori, earn unprecedented benefits from improved adhesion. In particular, sample stability onto nanostructured film allows matrix removal after MALDI Imaging and the performing of subsequent assays on exactly the same tissue section (e.g. immunohistochemical assays) enabling strict cross comparison of outcomes.

A patent is pending on the devices described above.

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Credits M. Lalowski

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