Detection of Biomarkers in Exhaled Breath Condensate
The difficulty in obtaining airway tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage samples has significantly hampered the ability to study naturally occurring exacerbations of asthma and other acute and chronic respiratory conditions/effects. Our non-invasive approach is unique among respiratory tract sampling and analysis methods in that it allows repeated measurements, which can be invaluable for studying the time-course of dynamic inflammatory pathways. As an example, studies have shown that nitrite content is elevated in the EBC of persons with asthma, especially during acute exacerbations. Although EBC has great potential as a source of biomarkers for many respiratory conditions, the low sample volumes and concentrations of biomarkers within EBC present analytical challenges.
Wearable Electronics for Continuous Health Monitoring
We are exploring various means for enabling continuous monitoring of molecular biomarkers in blood. This includes both label-free approaches and bead-based approaches. The end goal is to enable repeated monitoring of biomarkers with high temporal density for long periods of time. We will leverage our group's track record in electrokinetics and microfluidic sample preparation to build a light-weight sample-to-answer analyzer.
Bringing Proteomics To the Field Using a Portable Analyzer
The goal of this project is to develop a battery powered handheld sensitive instrument whose purpose is to detect panels of proteins for field based environmental monitoring. A portable device for protein analysis virtually impacts all fields of biology and also the biomedical sciences. Protein analysis of environmental samples typically requires collecting and storing samples and returning weeks to months later in labs to begin analyzing the data. The proposed instrument will instead allow for point-of-use on the field analysis of biological samples. The result of this research will be an instrument that is handheld and generalizable to the needs of individual biological laboratories. This disruptive tool will be valuable for basic biology, as well as clinical, biotechnological, and agricultural research. This tool will also have greater societal benefits including improving agricultural practices and deeper insights into environmental biology, which is necessary for protecting the environment. This is multidisciplinary work that combines engineering, nanofabrication, chemistry, physics, and biology and provides a great opportunity to educate and train graduate students, undergraduates, and high school students.
We would like to thank our sponsors for their generous support of our research.