Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is a powerful analytical tool for chemical and biological sensing applications. However, one feature which has limited its use in biosensing applications is the difficulty involved in producing uniform, highly sensitive, and reproducible SERS substrates. Recent developments in oblique angle deposition and other nanofabrication techniques have overcome this limitation, providing an unprecedented opportunity to develop SERS substrates for pathogen biosensor applications. Recently reported examples of SERS's newfound sensing abilities include the capacity to detect low levels of viruses and bacteria, as well as to discriminate between types and strains of pathogens, including pathogens with gene deletions. A brief review of our recent progress in SERS biosensing is given in this article. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.