Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Comparing assays via the resolution of molecular concentration

The assessment of the performance of molecular assays would benefit from quantifying the resolution of molecular concentration — a new metric that we propose and evaluate here.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Resolution of molecular concentration.
Fig. 2: Comparison of the performance of three commercial ELISA tests for CRP.
Fig. 3: Comparison of the performance of four point-of-care assays for the monitoring of circulating concentrations of a therapeutic monoclonal antibody.
Fig. 4: Dependence of the RMC on the parameters of a linear calibration curve.


  1. Long, G. L. & Winefordner, J. D. Anal. Chem. 55, 712A–724A (1983).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Liang, T. et al. Adv. Funct. Mater. 29, 1903026 (2019).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Armbruster, D. A. & Pry, T. Clin. Biochem. Rev. 29 (Suppl. 1), S49–S52 (2008).

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  4. Chesher, D. Clin. Biochem. Rev. 29 (Suppl. 1), S23–S26 (2008).

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. Currie, L. A. Anal. Chem. 40, 586–593 (1968).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Currie, L. A. Anal. Chim. Acta 391, 105–126 (1999).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Mandel, J. & Stiehler, R. D. J. Res. Natl Bur. Stand. 53, 155–159 (1954).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Wilson, D. H. et al. Clin. Chem. 57, 1712–1721 (2011).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Jarolim, P. et al. Clin. Chem. 61, 1283–1291 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Pardue, H. L. Clin. Chem. 43, 1831–1837 (1997).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Ridker, P. M. et al. N. Engl. J. Med. 347, 1557–1565 (2002).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Eisenhardt, S. U. et al. Circ. Res. 105, 128–137 (2009).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Póvoa, P. Intensive Care Med. 28, 235–243 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Akin, L. et al. Horm. Res. Paediatr. 74, 72–75 (2010).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Muller, P. Y. & Milton, M. N. Nat. Rev. Drug Discov. 11, 751–761 (2012).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Fischer, S. K. et al. Bioanalysis 12, 1449–1458 (2020).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Findlay, J. W. A. & Dillard, R. F. AAPS J. 9, E260–E267 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Borysiak, M. D., Thompson, M. J. & Posner, J. D. Lab Chip 16, 1293–1313 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank M. Tirlea and M. Sklar of the Stanford Statistics Group for helpful discussions. This work was supported by the Chan–Zuckerberg Biohub investigator program, the National Institutes of Health (NIH, OT2OD025342) and the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute at Stanford University.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



B.D.W. and H.T.S. conceived the project. B.D.W. developed the model and analysed the data. B.D.W., M.E. and H.T.S. wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to H. Tom Soh.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Peer review information

Nature Biomedical Engineering thanks David Duffy and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wilson, B.D., Eisenstein, M. & Soh, H.T. Comparing assays via the resolution of molecular concentration. Nat. Biomed. Eng 6, 227–231 (2022).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing: Translational Research

Sign up for the Nature Briefing: Translational Research newsletter — top stories in biotechnology, drug discovery and pharma.

Get what matters in translational research, free to your inbox weekly. Sign up for Nature Briefing: Translational Research