BME 317-0-01: Biochemical Sensors

Quarter Offered

Fall : MWF 3-3:50pm ; Berns


Bio 201 or 215, Chem 210-1, Phys 135-2, 3


Theory, development, and applications of biochemical sensors used in medical diagnosis and patient monitoring. Methods for sensing biomolecules, enzyme activities, and cells.

Who Takes It?

This course is designed for BME undergraduate juniors and seniors and graduate students in BME or related fields.

What It's About

The course provides an introduction to biosensors that are used in research and clinical diagnostics, with a focus on detection of biomolecules (e.g., DNA, RNA, proteins, metabolites), enzyme activities and cells. The course discusses biosensor development from basic research through development and commercialization, reviewing the key scientific advances and the translation of those advances to startups and companies. Students gain an understanding of the major approaches to measuring biomolecules and enzyme activities and the routes to translating new approaches to the market. The course is designed without significant overlap of topics covered in BME 353 Bioelectronics.


  • Overview of biosensors
  • Review of biomolecules
  • Detection of DNA and RNA
  • Detection of proteins
  • COVID-19 tests
  • Enzyme activity measurement
  • Blood tests
  • Cell-based assays
  • Biosensing with synthetic biology
  • Microfluidic platforms
  • Single-molecule sensing
  • Models for startup creation


Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Making PCR: A Story of Biotechnology by Paul Rabinow