Sergey A Piletsky began his research career in 1985 after graduation from Kiev State University with a MSc in Bioorganic Chemistry. In 1991 he received PhD from Kiev Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry for a work on the design of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) for nucleic acids. In 1998, he joined Prof. Turner in Cranfield University and became Professor in 2002. Among his main scientific achievements were: (i) Development of computational approach for design of synthetic receptors; (ii) Development of new separation materials, assays and sensors for industrial applications and new synthetic ligands possessing biological activity; (iii) Development of solid-phase synthesis of MIP nanoparticles and automatic reactor suitable for large-scale commercial exploitation. For his scientific achievements he received a number of awards such as JSPS, DFG and Leverhulme Fellowships, the award of the President of Ukraine, Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award and DSc from Cranfield University in 2014. In Cranfield, he headed a major research group – Cranfield Biotechnology Centre (CBC), and in 2013 he moved his group to University of Leicester where he continues his research on MIPs for diagnostic and in vivo applications. He has published more than 280 research papers, reviews and patent applications (H index 50). In 2015 he founded a company - MIP Diagnostics which he leads as a Research Director.


Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) are generic alternatives to antibodies and natural receptors in diagnostics and in separation. Here we report an efficient and flexible method for automatic synthesis of MIP nanoparticles using solid-phase automated photo/chemical reactor. Our approach requires a column-cartridge with an immobilized template docked into a thermostatic computer-controllable reactor, thereby allowing controlled manufacturing of affinity nanoparticles with narrow size distributions in the range 20-400 nm. We demonstrate synthesis of water-soluble affinity nanoparticles for various targets such as drugs, toxins, peptides, proteins and virus particles with minimal manual intervention and short reaction-cycle times. The developed reactor allows easy functionalization of nanoparticles with fluorescent, electrochemical or magnetic labels. The affinity of all synthesized nanoparticles is at the subnanomolar level which makes them suitable for practical applications in assays, sensors and in affinity chromatography. With this new development in MIP synthesis we foresee a time when the application of natural antibodies in diagnostics and affinity separation would be challenged by stable and inexpensive “plastic antibodies”.