Novel tools and strategies of single molecule detection using nanopores and molecular carriers

Ren RenNanopores have attracted significant attention due to their ability to detect biomarkers such as DNA, RNA, and proteins. However, the detection of these biomolecules is often limited by the low concentration in biological samples, fast translocation time of the analytes, poor analyte selectivity and low signal-to-noise ratio. My research is mainly to address these limitations.

Some of these challenges are addressed by designing a new class of nanoscale sensors dubbed nanopore extended field-effect transistor (nexFET) that combine the advantages of nanopore single-molecule sensing, field-effect transistors, and recognition chemistry. We report on a polypyrrole functionalized nexFET, with a controllable gate channel that can be used to switch on/off and slow down single-molecule transport through the nanopore detector. This strategy enables higher molecular throughput, enhanced signal-to-noise. Importantly the polypyrrole gate also functions as a molecular imprint matrix, which can enable heightened analyte selectivity via functionalization with an embedded receptor.

At the same time, we are exploring new molecular carriers to address the issues with the detection of small biomolecules.


  • PhD in Chemistry (Currently), Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London, Supervisor: Prof. Joshua Edel
  • MSc in Physical Chemistry (2012-2015), College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Lanzhou University, Supervisor: Prof. Jiantai Ma
  • BSc in Chemistry (2008-2012), College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Lanzhou University


1. R. Ren, Y. Zhang, B.P. Nadappuram, B. Akpinar, D. Klenerman, A.P. Ivanov, J.B. Edel, Y. Korchev, Nanopore extended field-effect transistor for selective single-molecule biosensing, Nature Communications (2017).

2. R. Ren, S. Li, J. Li, J. Ma, H. Liu and J. Ma, Enhanced catalytic activity of Au nanoparticles self-assembled on thiophenol functionalized graphene [J]. Catalysis Science & Technology (2015)

3. R. Ren, J. Ma, Lamellar Ni/Al-SBA-15 fibers: preparation, characterization, and applications as highly efficient catalysts for amine and imine syntheses. (2015)