Laboratory of Nano-Bioengineering comes up with a new approach to multiplexed detection of disease markers

The top-rated Scientific Reports journal has published a study on a new method for multiplexed detection performed by researchers from the Laboratory of Nano-Bioengineering (LNBE) and their foreign colleagues (Kage, D., Katrin Hoffmann, K., Nifontova, G., Krivenkov, V., Sukhanova, A., Nabiev, I., Resch-Genger, U. Tempo-spectral multiplexing in flow cytometry with lifetime detection using QD-encoded polymer beads. Scientific Reports, 10, 653).

Optically encoded polymer microbeads are promising tools for detecting molecular targets by means of flow cytometry, which are being intensely developed with a view to using them in molecular diagnoses of cancer and other diseases. The designing of such microbeads is a line of research at LNBE, where, e.g., an original method has been developed to obtain microcapsules with a multilayered shell in which layers of quantum dots of different colors and types are separated from one another by polyelectrolyte layers (

The approach used in the published paper is essentially new in that not only the wavelength, but also the fluorescence lifetime are used as optical codes. The recording of the fluorescence lifetime in the flow cytometry mode has become possible owing to a novel setup which measures both the fluorescence intensities at different wavelengths and the fluorescence lifetimes directly in the fluid flow.

Four types of microbeads were used in the study, two of them containing organic fluorophores and the other two ones containing quantum dots, which have a much longer fluorescence lifetime. The former microbeads served for color coding, and the latter, for fluorescence lifetime coding. The experiments have confirmed that the differences between quantum dots in fluorescence lifetime are distinctly detectable through recording their fluorescence decay kinetics using the new cytometric setup. Obviously, more types of microbeads containing each kind of fluorophores can be used in practical applications.


Thus, the use of fluorescence kinetic parameters as "another dimension in parameter space" has enhanced the potential of multiplexed fluorescence detection within one analysis of a single sample. This is important, in particular, for making the detection of disease markers quicker, more reliable, and less expensive and will undoubtedly increase the efficiency of medical diagnosis.

Scientific Reports is a top-rated international journal of the Nature group publishing only original studies and developments. The journal has permanently been in the first quartile of interdisciplinary journals in SCImago's Scientific Journal Ranking (SJR) almost since its foundation. At present, researchers from LNBE have published five papers on methods for detecting biological targets developed in the laboratory.


Galina O. Nifontova, Ph.D., senior researcher (,

Victor A. Krivenkov, Ph.D., research fellow (

Maria G. Korenkova, director of public relations (

Laboratory of Nano-Bioengineering (LNBE),
National Research Nuclear University MEPhI,
31 Kashirskoe shosse, 115409 Moscow, Russian Federation

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