Mesoporous silicon (PSi) photonic crystals have attracted interest as biosensing transducers owing to their high quality optics and sensitivity in optical characteristics to changes in refractive index. We describe progress our group has made derivatizing PSi towards devices for biology and medicine. PSi rugate filters display a high reflectivity resonant line in the reflectance spectrum. As an example for biosensing, immobilization of peptides and biopolymers within the PSi is demonstrated for detecting protease enzymes. Secretion of matrix metalloproteases from live cells was detected as a blue shift in the photonic resonance within hours, demonstrating the promise of this biosensor.