BRFAA - Biomedical Research Foundation Academy Of Athens
Biomedical Research Foundation Academy Of AthensAcademy Of Athens

Applied Biophysics and Surface Science

Με τη συγχρηματοδότηση της Ελλάδας και της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης



The Applied Biophysics and Surface Science Group is made up of a highly interdisciplinary team whose expertise ranges from molecular biology and biochemistry to synthetic chemistry and chemical engineering (even computer science!). Its research focuses on functional nucleic acids and surface/interface chemistry, two seemingly unrelated scientific fields that are, nevertheless, inextricably linked to nanotechnology and its numerous applications in medical, food and environmental diagnostics, drug development and delivery in personalized medicine (thera-peutic/-nostic agents, nanovectors for targeted delivery of active compounds) and regenerative medicine (scaffolds in tissue engineering). Our goal is to gain a deep understanding of how biomolecules, especially aptamers, interact with small or not so small ligands but also with a surface, once immobilized, and implement the generated knowledge towards the development of innovative biosensors and point-of-need/care devices. In parallel, we invest in the design and synthesis of organic compounds that can be employed on their own or in combination to chemically modify and pattern substrates, thus allowing high degrees of customization to be attained to suit the needs of a specific application, be it making a surface anti-fouling, tailoring its surface energy or even providing the functional groups required for the strong and stable attachment of biomolecules.

Surface functionalization/engineering

  • Material-selective nano-coatings
    • Tailored surface energy and roughness
    • Anti-fouling/ Adhesive layers
  • Universally-applicable surface functionalization chemistries
    • Library of chemically-synthesized monomers
    • Unique combinations resulting in novel surface properties
  • Click chemistry-based hydrogels and polymer brushes

Research on functional nucleic acids

  • Aptamer characterization with biophysical techniques
    • Evaluation of an aptamer’s affinity and selectivity towards an analyte
    • Buffer optimization
  • Aptamer sequence maturation
    • introduction of truncations, mutations to aptamer sequence
    • Rational design of aptamer-based assays








HEU - (101046133) - ‘ISIDORE’ Integrated Services for Infectious Disease Outbreak Research. Establishment of a pan-European network of service provision for increased readiness in future pandemics.

The ISIDORe consortium will improve Europe’s global service and research capacities by becoming a key, ERA-embedded instrument for supporting research on epidemic-prone pathogens, and aims at contributing to fighting the rise of the SARS-CoV-2 variants through a global, integrated and challenge-driven approach by providing fast access to cutting-edge resources and services to scientific user communities for supporting the evidence-based development or adaptation of countermeasures in times of emergency. Secondly, the project aims at contributing to Europe’s readiness to any epidemic-prone pathogen through a global, integrated and preparedness-driven approach by providing access to cutting-edge resources and services to scientific user communities for supporting their research projects in the field of infectious diseases in “peaceful times” as well as during epidemics.

BRFAA ABISE group’s role in the project

ABISE group participates to the ISIDORE project through the provision of support in the Diagnostic and Therapeutic Development (

All the services listed below are available for access at BSL-1 or BSL-2 regardless of the call for proposals & research topic that you select in your pre-application form:

  • Characterization of in-vitro diagnostic devices and sensing platforms.
  • Assay development (molecular and biochemical) and integration to IVD devices.
  • Customization of existing assays to be integrated into LoCs, biosensors and microfluidics-based devices.
  • Testing of developed and optimized assays, biosensors, LoCs and microfluidics-based devices with well-characterized samples.
  • Extensive biobank of blood & nasopharyngeal samples from patients infected with various viral and bacterial pathogens.
  • Surface functionalization.
  • Development of surface modification techniques towards biomolecule immobilization and biosensor fabrication or tailoring of surface properties (antifouling, surface energy etc.).
  • Lab-on-a-Chip molecular diagnostics, multiplexed pathogen detection, variant discrimination
  • Foil-based lab-on-chip demonstrator device development for existing assays.
  • Matrix customized methods (e.g., non-human samples) and multiplexed pathogen detection.
  • Development/application of rapid, low cost, high throughput molecular methods for population screening.



NSRF – (ΑΤΤΡ4-0325463) - ‘MIKROΒΙΟFARM’, Impedimetric aptasensors for the detection of pesticides in greenhouses.

Microfluidic applications encompass nanomaterials such as nano-enabled surfaces (NES) and nano-enabled membranes (NEMs). However, current production technologies do not support the mass production of complex nano-patterned surfaces, prohibiting the transfer of NES and NEMs into commercial microfluidic devices. To address this, scientists of the EU-funded NextGenMicrofluidics project are in the process of developing a platform for the large-scale production of NES and NEMs. The platform combines polymer foil technology with classic technologies such as injection moulding and high-resolution biomolecule printing. The project's unique approach is expected to reach a high-throughput production capacity of one million components per year, advancing the industrial manufacturing of microfluidic devices.

BRFAA ABISE group’s role in the project

ABISE group leads the ‘Biosensors for Food Safety & Public Health Monitoring’ Demo case that entails the:

Development of a molecular diagnostics assay for the multiplexed detection of SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza as well as the employment of aptamers for the detection of contaminants in food.

The group is responsible for the development of both molecular diagnostics as well as biochemical assays, while it also works towards the optimization of protocols for the chemical functionalization of PS.





H2020 - (IA/ DT-NMBP-03-2019) - ‘NEXT GENERATION MICROFLUIDICS’ fluorescent-based LoC platforms for food monitoring and diagnostic testing. Establishment of an open innovation test bed and single entry point.

The project "Development of a Small Biomedical System for Pesticide Detection" (Mikrobiofarm) with an act code: ATP4-0325463 (MIS code: 5185014) aims at developing the necessary technologies for the fast, automated and selective detection as well as the integration of these technologies into an integrated smart farming system. The final system will combine state-of-the-art technologies in a portable, autonomous, easy-to-use and prototype laboratory device, for the parallel detection of multiple plant protection substances.

BRFAA ABISE group’s role in the project

ABISE group is responsible for the selection and in-depth characterization of aptamer sequences against the pesticides targeted within MIKROBIOFARM, which include some fungicides, some of the least researched family of compounds when it comes to the development of devices for their monitoring. At the same time, the group is responsible for the development of protocols towards the chemical functionalization of the sensor surfaces, which are composed of Au Interdigitated arrays of electrodes on a Silicon dioxide substrate and decorated with Pt Nanoparticles. The chemistry to be employed will be based on diazonium salts, a material-independent chemistry that can be implemented on all three different materials making up the sensor. Chemical modification will introduce the necessary tethers for the subsequent immobilization of aptamers. The latter will be employed for the impedimetric detection of said analytes, whereby ABISE group is responsible for further finetuning the surface chemistry as well as the selection of appropriate redox probes and buffer solutions for the enhancement of the recorded impedimetric signal.





NSRF – (RESEARCH–CREATE–INNOVATE) - ‘MICSYS’, electrochemical portable biosensor for the detection of heavy metals in water.

Project description

Τhe aim of the project is to deliver innovative components for in situ detecting heavy metal ions in water and for presenting the analysis results in a concise yet inclusive manner. To address this aim, a novel microfluidic chip will be designed and developed that integrates functions of sensing, detecting and analyzing water samples. The heavy metals to be detected will be Cr(III), Cr(VI), Pb2+, Hg2+ and Cd2+; that are well known pollutants for the environment even at low concentrations. This microfluidic together with the high selectivity biosensing components will be integrated into a portable IoT hardware platform that communicates the collected data to a cloud infrastructure which in turn stores and presents the analysis results in a web environment.


BRFAA’s role in the project

BRFAA is responsible for the development of appropriate biochemical assays and surface functionalization chemistries for the selective and highly sensitive detection of heavy metal ions in water samples as well as surface functionalization protocols for the modification of the surfaces of the electrochemical nanoparticle-decorated sensors at the ‘heart’ of the MICSYS device. The assays to be developed with be based on DNAzymes and their self-catalytic cleavage upon recognition of a specific heavy metal ion. The surface modifying chemistries, on the other hand, will make use of silanes to provide a robust protocol for the generation of appropriate functional groups onto the sensor surfaces and the covalent attachment of the DNAzymes.




-     NSRF – (NEOI EREUNITES) - ‘COMPLECS-CELLS’, coculture of cancer and natural killer cells on micro-structured and chemically modified surfaces.

-     H2020 - (ICT) - ‘BIOCDx’, miniature bio-photonics companion diagnostics platform for reliable cancer diagnosis and treatment monitoring.

-     NSRF – (RESEARCH–CREATE–INNOVATE) - ‘ELAIONAS’ electrochemical Point-of-Need biosensing platform for the detection of pesticides and phthalates in olive oil.

-     FP7 – (ICT) – ‘BIOFOS’ photonics biosensing device for the in-situ detection of food contaminants based on aptamers.

    NSRF – (SYNERGASIA ΙΙ) – ‘NANOTHER’ targeted drug delivery to cancer cells and magnetic manipulation of superparamagnetic nanostructures.

-     NSRF – (SYNERGASIA ΙΙ) – ‘PEISMON’, electrochemical biosensor for the detection of pesticides in water.

-     NSRF - CORALLIA CLUSTERING - ‘LABONCHIP’, Lab-On-Chip acoustic biosensor for molecular diagnostics and environmental applications.




George Tsekenis, PhD

(full bio)

Αpplied Biophysics and Surface Science Laboratory
Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA)
4 Soranou Ephessiou St., 115 27 Athens, Greece
t: +30 2106597476
m: +30 6972662700