Angela Licata

Developing an Acetylcholine Sensor

Currently, there are limited methods to detect quantities of neurotransmitters in vitro and in vivo. Microdialysis can provide the information but is invasive and too slow to provide useful data on the same timescale as neurotransmission. An up and coming method for determining specific neurotransmitter concentrations is through electrochemical detection. Electrochemically active molecules like dopamine can be be detected this way via voltammetry, but the detection of acetylcholine has additional problems. Harnessing the specificity of enzymes to make acetylcholine electrochemically active, I worked to adapt a protocol for making acetylcholine microelectrode arrays (MEAs) in a lab which had not previously used this protocol. I designed an experimental set-up to develop these MEAs to record current from four cross-referencing channels specific for a choline enzyme.