Paper Biosensors and Mobile Apps

Hyun Kwon and Rodney Summerscales
(Engineering and Computer Science)

Paper biosensors and mobile apps for affordable detection of cancer biomarkers

This is a joint proposal of Dr. Kwon (engineering) and Dr. Summerscales (computing) to develop an innovative paper biosensor and detection system through a mobile app.

Paper based diagnostics receives particular interest in recent years, as it can serve as an alternative platform for point of care diagnostics.  The sensor can be very easily fabricated using chromatography papers and wax printing.  The wax can be printed in a predesigned pattern to form hydrophobic channels and solutions migrate through capillary action without the need of a pump.   The simplest colorimetric detection method can be employed to enable naked eye to distinguish or to allow accurate analysis using a mobile app.  

In the preliminary study, Dr. Kwon has shown a simple folding paper pattern to prove the feasibility of this project.  Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) and its antibody that are attached to gold nanoparticles were used to detect purplish dot with naked eyes, similar to the home pregnancy test.

This project will bring collaboration between engineering and computing.   Mobile app design is the fastest growing tech field and this project will serve as a promising application.  Dr. Kwon and Dr. Summerscales will collaborate together to develop the sensor platform and cell phone app as a detection tool.  

If successfully conducted, the paper biosensor with cell phone app can be developed into an affordable alternative to current lab tests for chronic diseases or a quick diagnosing tool for flu or Ebola viruses at the time of outbreak.