“Multiscale Structures for Sensing and Diagnostics”
Dr. Shalini Prasad, Arizona State University
Current trends in sensing and diagnostics tend toward developing hybrid devices that incorporate nanomaterial for enhancing device performance. These devices and platforms have broad impact ranging from personalized medicine in health care to environmental sensing and use as multifunctional sensors in military applications. The overarching objective of research at the Biomedical Micro Devices and Nanotechnology Lab (BMNL) is to develop a new class of portable, bio-analytical tools with improved functionality and performance. Electrical/electrochemical effects on biomolecules and cells in micro- and nanoscale domains are leveraged toward enhancing the performance of these devices and platforms. Detection is typically achieved with a number of label-free methods.
Three key ideas underlie the work at BMNL. The first is to design and manufacture structures comprising nanoscale-confined spaces integrated onto multiscale architecture platforms. This model architecture has been engineered to harness the principle of nanoscale size-based confinement for biomolecule binding and detection. Detection is achieved by monitoring perturbations in the electrical bi-layer in tailored nanoscale confined spaces. Enhanced performance metrics in biomolecule detection have been demonstrated in developing electrical immunoassays and allergen sensors. Similar nanostructured platforms have also been modified toward developing cellular analytical platforms for performing dose-specific studies through controlled transport of analytes.
The second idea is to incorporate electrical tweezers onto microscale structures for manipulating cells and pathogens. This technique is the building block for developing cell sorting systems and rapid pathogen identification systems.
The third idea is the utilization of rapidly prototyped microstructures for optical detection of biomolecules based on modulation of parameters of coherent light sources.
Shalini Prasad is an assistant research professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering at ASU. She was previously an assistant professor at Portland State University, and she has an adjunct appointment in biomedical engineering at Oregon Health and Science University. She received her PhD in electrical engineering from the University of California, Riverside, in 2004. Her multidisciplinary research interests include bio-microelectromechanical systems (bio-MEMS), nano devices and nano/biotechnology. Her current research interests focus on developing lab-on-a-chip devices for sensing and diagnostic applications that impact such areas as medical diagnostics, the environment and bio-defense applications. Her work has been reported in more than 30 peer-reviewed journals and in the popular press. She has received a number of nano-biotechnology awards, she has co-organized symposia on bio/chemical sensor technologies, and she was a featured scientist at Lab Automation 2010.