John D. Brennan

Canada Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry

Tier 1 - 2012-03-01
Renewed: 2018-11-01
McMaster University
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

905-525-9140 ext. 27033

Research involves

Investigating the behavior of biomolecules within sol-gel-processed glasses and composites, in order to develop a fundamental molecular-level view of the biomolecules, and to build devices such as sensors and chromatography columns.

Research relevance

Findings will benefit key sectors of the Canadian economy, including pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, biotechnology, materials science and genomics/proteomics.

New Biomaterials for New Health Tools

Chemical Biology is vital to many established and emerging industrial sectors. In particular, new ventures based on genomics and proteomics will benefit from chemical biology the most.

The interaction between chemists and biochemists is a cornerstone of Dr. John Brennan's research program. Much of his work is in the entrapment of biomolecules into sol-gel derived glasses, which leads to development of improved bioanalytical devices. His work intertwines materials science, biochemistry and analytical chemistry in a unique manner to produce new assays and analytical devices that have the potential to revolutionize the areas of biosensing and drug discovery. The goal of his research group is to become a world leader in the development of advanced sol-gel based biomaterials, biosensor technologies and high-throughput drug screening platforms.

As Canada Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry, Dr. Brennan will use a highly interdisciplinary approach to enable him to achieve his research goals of: developing new matrixes for the immobilization of functional biomolecules; the development of improved analytical devices based on sol-gel immobilized biomolecules, and; the extension of the range of biomolecules that can be used for sensing and screening purposes. Advances in these areas have the potential to spin out new commercial products and new companies, to lead to improved point-of-care diagnostic devices, and to revolutionize drug-screening technologies. Dr. Brennan is already negotiating licensing agreements with Canadian companies for sol-gel based assay methods.

Dr. Brennan's research is backed by the world-class Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research (BIMR) at McMaster University. The institute, along with the university's initiative in developing a new graduate program in Chemical Biology, will put Dr. Brennan and his colleagues in a position to make the required leaps forward in sensor development and drug discovery that are not likely to occur anywhere else in Canada, and at only a handful of highly funded laboratories in the U.S.