HEKA Elektronik and the City University of New York (CUNY) have announced that they have entered into a license agreement for the commercialization of the Broderick Probe, a biosensor that enables direct, electrochemical monitoring of the release of dopamine, serotonin and a number of other neuro-active substances.

These substances play a crucial role in understanding the function of the central nervous system, and changes in their release pattern may be a cause or a symptom in many disorders.

The Broderick Probe was invented by Dr. Patricia Broderick, the daughter of Irish immigrants from counties Cork and Clare.

The Broderick Probe biosensor can be used to measure the concentration of neurochemicals in intact animals or human subjects, or in tissue slices. It has been demonstrated to outperform established techniques in specificity, sensitivity and durability of the measurements.

Long-term studies with this miniature biosensor, implanted for up to seven months, did not reveal any evidence of scar formation or degradation in its performance.

“Finally it is the researcher who determines the duration of an experiment, not limitations of the technique,” said Dr. Broderick, who named her probe after her late father.

Based on work performed in her own lab at CUNY and in collaboration with other researchers, Dr. Broderick has published a number of peer-reviewed papers in research areas as diverse as schizophrenia, drug addiction, Parkinson’s disease, brain injury and stroke.

“I have talked to quite a number of researchers in these fields,” said Jan Dolzer, PhD, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at HEKA, “and everyone was excited about the possibility to directly measure neuro-active substances and monitor the time course of their release in long-term experiments. The experimental designs are there, just waiting for technology powerful enough to realize them. And that is what we have here.”

The Broderick Probe is expected to help further the understanding of diseases that still have a major impact on man. HEKA Elektronik’s CEO, Dr. Peter Schulze, sees challenging and interesting developments ahead.

“The Broderick Probe works straight out of the box with our potentiostats and software, but I am convinced that a dedicated, focused recording system using our technology will even better serve the needs of biomedical researchers,” he said.

A system based on the existing components will be tested in collaboration with several laboratories in the near future.

“CUNY is excited to work with HEKA and is looking forward to assisting in the commercialization of this promising technology for the benefit of patients,” said Douglas Adams, Acting Director of the Technology Commercialization Office.

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University is comprised of 24 institutions.  

Dr. Broderick is the inventor of five patents, held by CUNY and NYU. She has  published extensively in  over 200 publications and presentations, has founded the Broderick Brain Foundation  and has mentored over 100 undergraduate and graduate students, in addition to medical, scientific doctors and industrial liaisons.

Dr. Broderick’s parents came through Ellis Island; her mother was almost turned back because she was only 4’11”.  Dr. Broderick is a nun with the Dominican order, and an award-winning Irish dancer and violinist.

Dr. Patricia Broderick