Trevor D. Rapson*a, Jian-Wei Liua; Alagacone Sriskanthaa; Mustafa Musamehb; Christopher J Dunnb; Jeffery S. Churchc; Andrea Woodheadc; Andrew Wardena; Mark Rileyd; Jeffery Harmere; Chris Noblee; Tara D. Sutherlanda


a CSIRO, Black Mountain Science and Innovation, Acton, ACT, 2601, Australia
CSIRO, Clayton, Melbourne, VIC, 3168, Australia
c CSIRO, Waurn Ponds, Geelong, VIC, 3216, Australia
d School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, 4072, Australia
e Centre for Advanced Imaging, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, 4072, Australia


Worldwide 235 million people suffer from asthma, including 2.4 million Australians. In Australia, the annual costs associated with asthma are in the billions of dollars: 1.2 billion in health system costs, 1.2 billion in productivity costs, and 882.3 million in associated costs. In addition to financial costs, asthma has a long-term impact on the quality of life of susceptible individuals. 

Significant reductions in the disease burden are predicted through the targeted use of medicines.  Critical to achieving these savings is the availability of feasible and accessible tools for measuring biomarkers. A particular biomarker of interest for asthma management is fractional exhaled nitric oxide levels (FENO) Several hours prior to the onset of asthma symptoms, FENO increases. Preventative action using currently available medications at this early stage reduces the severity of attacks, the number of hospitalizations and the length of stay in hospital.

In this talk we outline our progress in developing a nitric oxide sensing material which is fundamentally different from existing FENO sensors and is ideal for development of a device that can be used economically by patients to monitor FENO in the home, akin to blood glucose monitors. Such a device will revolutionise the use of nitric oxide as a preventative biomarker for asthma as it will transform nitric oxide monitoring from a sophisticated, predominantly hospital-based technique to a technique suitable for regular home monitoring of individuals.


1 Rapson et al. ACS Biomat. Sci. Eng. 2015, 1, 114-1120. De novo engineering of solid-state metalloproteins using recombinant coiled-coil silk.


Biographic Details

Name: Trevor Rapson            

Title: Doctor

Affiliation, Country: CSIRO Health and Biosecurity, Australia

Phone: +61 2 62464104 Fax: + 61 2 62464173 E-mail:

Research interests: Medical diagnostics, biosensor development, bioinorganic chemistry, bioelectrochemistry



AEB 301