Rutgers researchers invent technology that could lead to wearable biosensors
Rutgers engineers have invented biosensor technology – known as a lab on a chip – that could be used in hand-held or wearable devices to monitor your health and exposure to dangerous bacteria, viruses and pollutants.
“This is really important in the context of personalized medicine or personalized health monitoring,” said Mehdi Javanmard, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “Our technology enables true labs on chips. We’re talking about platforms the size of a USB flash drive or something that can be integrated onto an Apple Watch, for example, or a Fitbit.”
The technology, which involves electronically barcoding microparticles, giving them a bar code that identifies them, could be used to test for health and disease indicators, bacteria and viruses, along with air and other contaminants, said Javanmard, senior author of the study.
In recent decades, research on biomarkers – indicators of health and disease such as proteins or DNA molecules – has revealed the complex nature of the molecular mechanisms behind human disease. That has heightened the importance of testing bodily fluids for numerous biomarkers simultaneously, the study says.
“One biomarker is often insufficient to pinpoint a specific disease because of the heterogeneous nature of various types of diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and inflammatory disease,” said Javanmard, who works in the School of Engineering. “To get an accurate diagnosis and accurate management of various health conditions, you need to be able to analyze multiple biomarkers at the same time.”
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