Professor Reinhard RENNEBERG
(PhD, Central Institute of Molecular Biology,Berlin, 1979)

E-mail: ""

HKUST Scholarly Publications


Research Interests

Bioanalytical chemistry: basics and applications; nano-biotechnology; biosensorics and bioelectronics; microsystems and microsensors; novel signal-amplifying systems using LBL-encapsulated mediators; enzymes and dyes for amperometric sensors; ELISAs and other biotests; environmental chemistry; commercialization of biosensors and biotests (heart attack, stroke, viral and bacterial infections). 

The Biosensor & Bioelectronics Lab is developing novel rapid tests for biomedical and environmental applications. It has formed the SiGNAL network (Sino-German Nano-Analytical Lab) for collaboration within the frame of the German Center, HKUST Europe Institute.

1. Biotests (i) An immunotest detects fatty acid-binding protein (FABP), which is a 15 kDa protein within 15 minutes. FABP is an early infarction marker and allows diagnosis or exclusion of acute myocardial infarction within half an hour after the onset of symptom. Conventional markers need 3-6 hours. In addition to life saving, the immunotest can be also used for detection of overtraining in athletes and horses. (ii) An InfectCheck barcode-style lateral flow assay for semi-quantitative detection of C-reactive protein (CRP) in distinguishing between bacterial and viral infections. The severity of bacterial infection can be assessed by simply counting the number of red lines. It is a one-step whole blood rapid test without any sample pre-treatment and the result is available within 15 min. This user friendly diagnostic tool can allow self-testing by interested individuals without any expensive reading device.

2. Biosensors: (i) Living yeast cells (Arxula adeninivorans) are immobilized at the top of Clark oxygen sensors and mass-produced thick-film sensors. Any change in cell respiration can be monitored in 70 seconds.  The cells are stable and can be reused for several months. As they are salt-tolerant, one can directly measure the biodegradable pollution in sea water samples within minutes instead of the 5-day- method (BOD5). (ii) Thick-film sensors and thin-film sensors produced by microsystem technology are used as transducers for immobilized lactate oxidase. By checking the lactate levels before and after training for humans and horses, one can evaluate fitness levels easily within seconds. It was demonstrated for subcutaneous in-vivo measurements during training. (iii) Cyanide fishing destroys nowadays many coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean. One million kilograms of cyanides have been used in the last 10 years in Pacific coral reefs to catch fishes mainly for consumption in Hong Kong. Using the oxygen binding abilities of porphyrines, a sensor is constructed for highly sensitive detection of cyanide in fish blood. We hope to help to stop cyanide fishing by developing a rapid test.

3. Signal amplification technologies: A SuperNova technology is based on a two-step approach for the preparation of the nanocrystal biolabels: (1) the fluorogenic precursor fluorescein diacetate (FDA) nanocrystals are firstly encapsulated by distearoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DSPE) lipids coupled to amino[poly-(ethylene glycol)] (PEG-Amine) and (2) subsequently coupled with biomolecules. High signal amplification can be achieved by conversion of the precursor FDA into mega releasable fluorescein molecules using a releasing reagent. The intensity of the fluorescence signal is proportional to the target analyte concentration. It has the potential to highly amplify the signal and can be a good alternative label for DNA hybridizations and immunoassays.


Representative Publications

Books :

"Biotechnology for Beginners”, Academic Press, New York (2008).

"Biosensing for the 21st Century" in: “Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology Vol 109” (R Renneberg and F Lisdat, eds.) Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg (2008).

"Bioanalytics for Beginners" Springer, Heidelberg (2009).

"Katzenklon, Katzenklon" Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg (2007).

"複製一個我" (R Renneberg and J Reich) Rive Gauche Publishing House, Taiwan (2007).


Journal Papers :

Lai, K. K.; Renneberg, R.; Mak, W. C. High Efficiency Single-Step Biomaterial-Based Microparticle Fabrication via Template-Directed Supramolecular Coordination Chemistry. Green Chem. 2016, 1715–1723.

Engels, J. F.; Roose, J.; Zhai, D. S.; Yip, K. M.; Lee, M. S.; Tang, B. Z.; Renneberg, R. Aggregation-Induced Emissive Nanoparticles for Fluorescence Signaling in a Low Cost Paper-Based Immunoassay. Colloids Surf. B. Biointerfaces 2016, 143, 440–446.

Lademann, J.; Richter, H.; Knorr, F.; Patzelt, A.; Darvin, M. E.; Rühl, E.; Cheung, K. Y.; Lai, K. K.; Renneberg, R.; Mak, W. C. Triggered Release of Model Drug from AuNP-Doped BSA Nanocarriers in Hair Follicles Using IRA Radiation. Acta Biomater. 2016, 30, 388–396.

Glatz, J. F. C.; Renneberg, R. Added Value of H-FABP as a Plasma Biomarker for the Early Evaluation of Suspected Acute Coronary Syndrome. Clin. Lipidol. 2014, 9 (2), 205–220.

Lai, K. K.; Renneberg, R.; Mak, W. C. Bioinspired Protein Microparticles Fabrication by Peptide Mediated Disulfide Interchange. RSC Adv. 2014, 4, 11802.

Chan, C. P. Y.; Mak, W. C.; Cheung, K. Y.; Sin, K. K.; Yu, C. M.; Rainer, T. H.; Renneberg, R. Evidence-Based Point-of-Care Diagnostics: Current Status and Emerging Technologies. Annu. Rev. Anal. Chem. VOL 6 2013, 6, 191–211.

Lai, K. K.; Renneberg, R.; Mak, W. C. Multifunctional Protein Particles with Dual Analytical Channels for Colorimetric Enzymatic Bioassays and Fluorescent Immunoassays. Biosensors and Bioelectronics. 2012, pp 169–176.

Mak, W. C.; Patzelt, A.; Richter, H.; Renneberg, R.; Lai, K. K.; Rühl, E.; Sterry, W.; Lademann, J. Triggering of Drug Release of Particles in Hair Follicles. J. Control. release Off. J. Control. Release Soc. 2012, 160 (3), 509–514.

Chan, C. P. Y.; Jiang, H. L.; Leung, L. Y.; Wan, W. M.; Cheng, N. M.; Ip, W. S.; Cheung, K. Y.; Chan, R. W. Y.; Wong, L. K. S.; Graham, C. A.; et al. Multiple Atherosclerosis-Related Biomarkers Associated with Short- and Long-Term Mortality after Stroke. Clin. Biochem. 2012, 45, 1308–1315.

Mak, W. C.; Sin, K. K.; Chan, C. P. Y.; Wong, L. W.; Renneberg, R. Biofunctionalized Indigo-Nanoparticles as Biolabels for the Generation of Precipitated Visible Signal in Immunodipsticks. Biosens. Bioelectron. 2011, 26, 3148–3153.


Lifesaver: CardioDetect® FABP Rapid Test for Early Diagnosis of Acute Myocardial Infarction




















InfectCheck CRP barcode-style Rapid Test for Rapid Differentiation of Bacterial and Viral Infections










    A Novel Signal Amplification Technology SuperNova System