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Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Bio/Nano Hybrid Interfaces for Sensing Applications


Materials & Manufacturing, RX/Soft Matter Materials

RO# Location
13.25.04.B7301 Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 454337817


name email phone
Kelley-Loughnane, Nancy 937-203-5786


Our research team investigates different elements found in nature known to be specific and sensitive to certain molecules, both small metabolites and large macromolecules (such as proteins). We are developing sensing tools based on known response elements in nature and tailoring these biological recognition elements to biomarkers and other chemicals of Air Force interest.

Previous studies have shown that we can screen for highly specific recognition elements to DOD-relevant chemical and biological targets. The approach to finding these novel recognition elements involves computational modeling and experimental screening of ligand binding.  In addition, we investigate novel chromophores, in order to improve the reporting of these cell-based sensors and nanomaterial synthesis to achieve ex vivo reporting.

The Air Force is also interested in biotronics, which is a hybrid of electronics fabrication with the incorporation of biological elements. The research depends on understanding the abiotic and biotic interface. We are exploring different device platforms as well as modifications to the biological systems in order to advance performance of these hybrid sensors.

Our team works with collaborators across the AFRL directorates, as well as with university and industry partners to develop the best solutions for the Air Force mission. We house experts in numerous areas, such as bioinformatics, proteomics, genomics, genetics, metabolomics, molecular biology, microbiology, physiology, biomimetics, neuroscience, systems biology, and synthetic biology. We perform research across these diverse fields in order to improve monitoring of Air Force systems. 



Harbaugh SV, Goodson MS, Dillon K, Zabarnick S, Kelley-Loughnane N: Riboswitch-Based reversible Dual Color Sensor. ACS Synthetic Biology 6: 766-781, 2017

Goodson MS, Bennett AC, Jennewine BR, Briskin E, Harbaugh SV, Kelley-Loughnane N: Amplifying Riboswitch Signal Output using Cellular Wiring. ACS Synthetic Biology 2017, doi: 10.1021/acssynbio.6b00191 [Epub ahead of print]

Rose DP, Ratterman ME, Griffin DK, Hou L, Kelley-Loughnane N, Naik RR, Hagen JA, Papautsky I, Heikenfeld JC: Adhesive RFID Sensor Patch for Monitoring of Sweat Electrolytes. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering 11: 62(6): 1457-1465, 2015


Synthetic biology; Systems biology; Nanomaterial synthesis; Biotronics;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$76,542.00 $4,000.00

$3,000 Supplement for Doctorates in Engineering & Computer Science

Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral and Senior Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

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