Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Suri Iyer


Numerous toxins and pathogens gain entry into mammalian cells using cell surface glycans. The Iyer group at Georgia State University is working on the development of glycoconjugates for the accurate detection of infectious agents. In this thesis, I have focused on the development of glycans to detect influenza virus and norovirus.

In the first section, I have focused on influenza viruses. A panel of synthetic glycans was synthesized as receptor mimics for the specific capture of influenza viruses. The synthetic glycans were printed onto commercial glass slides using a free amine at the end of a spacer to generate a small focused microarray. This glycan printed microarray was evaluated for its ability to capture three strains of influenza viruses. The analytical limit of detection is ~10 pfu/ml, (plaque forming units/milliliter) which is clinical relevant as 102 viral particles are typically required to cause infection. We also tested the drug susceptibility of current antivirals, Zanamivir and Ostelamivir using the microarray and determined the feasibility of this system to determine antiviral resistance for different strains.

In addition to optical detection, I developed an electrochemical assay to rapidly detect influenza viruses. Here, we utilized an unique property of influenza viral surface enzyme, Neuraminidase (NA), which cleaves terminal N-Acetyl Neuraminic acid (sialic acid) from cell surfaces and proteins. We designed an electrochemical assay that uses glucose bearing sialic acid substrates. Glucose is released when exposed to viral NA or intact viruses. The released glucose can be detected using repurposed glucose meters. Thus, personal glucose meters that were designed to assist diabetics and prediabetics monitor blood glucose can potentially be used to detect pathogens. Using this approach, we have detected 19 unique strains of influenza viruses. We also demonstrated drug susceptibility using this assay. The limit of detection of this assay is 102 pfu/sample, which is clinically relevant. The results were validated plaque assays and polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

In the second part of this thesis, I focused on norovirus detection. I developed a focused glycan microarray that comprised of a library of histo blood group antigens (HBGAs). The HBGAs were attached to a carrier protein and printed onto activated glass slides. A panel of norovirus virus like particles (VLPs) and strains that included different genogroups was exposed to the microarray. We found that different VLPs and strains give rise to unique binding patterns. When the binding pattern of VLPs for a particular strain were compared to the corresponding intact virus, the binding patterns didn't match well, presumably because the virus does not recognize the same antibody as the VLPs. Unfortunately, antibodies for the virus cannot be generated because the virus cannot be grown in a laboratory setting. Indeed, all norovirus samples are obtained from human challenge studies. I also used surface plasmon resonance (SPR) studies in an effort to determine the binding affinities. Divalent biotinylated H type glycans were synthesized and their binding affinities with different VLPs and viral strains were determined. Initial studies suggest that the binding affinities are strain specific. These results demonstrate that glycans can be used to capture and isolate norovirus, although more research is required to develop glycan based norovirus detection kits.

Available for download on Monday, December 03, 2018