Collaborative Research: A Miniaturized Uropathogen Dectection System

Project: Research project

Project Details


The objective of this research is to study and implement a miniaturized microfluidic-based uropathogen detection system for rapid detection of bacterial pathogens. The approach is i) to use molecular probe biosensors for targeting four important pathogens including Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus mirabilis, and Enterococcus spp. that cause urinary tract infections (UTI), ii) to integrate nanotechnology-enabled fluidic valves to control fluids in microfluidic channels, and iii) to integrate sensing and fluidic modules all on a miniaturized chip to eliminate the requirement of skilled technicians.

The intellectual merit of this research includes the use of molecular biosensors for single step hybridization of bacterial 16S rRNA, which is a well described bacterial ?molecular fingerprint?. The single step hybridization mitigates the complicated sample preparation steps. The nanotechnology-enabled fluidic valves utilize the dynamic modulation of the hydrophobicity of the surface of nanostructures. These nanostructures are approximately 10?s of nanometers tall, yet are sufficient to block fluid flow in micrometer height channels. The molecular biosensor and the nano-valves are integrated on a microfluidic-based platform that is equipped with on-chip heating and sample delivery functions. The miniaturized uropathogen detection system significantly simplifies current standard procedures that are labor-intensive, time consuming, and require a centralized laboratory.

The broader impacts of this research include a miniaturized detection system that can be operated in decentralized settings such as a physician?s office, airports, or battlefield. The research will be integrated across educational fronts including i) course development, ii) student training, iii) undergraduate and minority research opportunities, and iv) outreach programs.

Effective start/end date9/15/098/31/13


  • National Science Foundation: $199,906.00


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