Diagnostic Engineering

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Diagnostic research is a fast growing field with an industry that worth billions of dollars. This field of study has shown to be useful in various applications ranging from food and beverages, agricultural and environmental to medical and pharmaceutical applications. Although several systems have been developed for the detection of proteins, peptides, enzymes, and many other biomolecules for diverse applications, the research in this field is very active for achieving and more sensitive and modified multifunctional systems. In biomedical engineering, such analytical devices are used for the detection of an analyte that combines a biological component (e.g. tissue, microorganisms, organelles, cell receptors, enzymes, antibodies, nucleic acids, etc.) with a physicochemical detector. The Mozafari Group is interested in both engineering and biology aspects of this field. The most important engineering part of these systems are always the signal processors and transducer/detector which is optical, piezoelectric, electrochemical, etc.

Highlights

  • The Mozafari Group is interested in the development of multifunctional lab-, organ- and human-on-a-chip microfluidic devices using different microchip manufacturing methods. By reiterating the multicellular structural design, tissue-tissue interfaces, physicochemical microenvironments and vascular perfusion of the body, these devices can produce high levels of functionality for diagnostic engineering. These technologies enable high-resolution, real-time analysis of biochemical, genetic and metabolic activities of living cells in a functional tissue and organ context. This field of study constitutes the subject matter of significant biomedical engineering research, more precisely in Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) research. Although there are many reports on the translation of some organs' functions onto such interfaces, the movement towards the clinical applications is still in their infancy. We are working on the validation and optimization of these microfluidic systems to simulate the functions the heart, the lung, kidney, artery, bone, cartilage, skin and other tissues and organs. The dream is that the development of these systems will be an end to the need for animals in many testing procedures.



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  • Quantum dots are nano-sized semiconductor particles that their optical and electronic properties differ from those of larger particles using same materials. There are many types of quantum dots that emit light in specific frequencies, if they are excited in defined wavelengths, applicable in a wide range of biomedical applications. An example of this includes one or our recent studies showing how highly toxic quantum dots with excellent optical properties can be modified for diagnostic engineering applications. In order to improve the general biocompatibility of lead sulfide quantum dot nanocrystals, we presented a new and simple procedure for preparing PbS/gelatin core–shell nanoparticles cross-linked with glutaraldehyde molecules. Our in vitro tests revealed that compared with bare PbS nanocrystals, the photostability of the core–shell nanostructure remarkably improved. Therefore, we proposed a new class of promising candidates for in vivo biological targeting applications having the advantages of high stability as well as high fluorescent intensity and biocompatibility of the core–shell nanoparticles.


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  • Carbon family nanostructures as fullerenes, carbon nanotubes and graphene offer a platform technology with potential to be utilized in many applications particularly for biomedical engineering. The Mozafari Group is actively working on the development of nanostructured carbon family materials for biomedical applications. Among this family, we are particularly interested in graphene as a component of a point of care sensor that could be used for immediate disease diagnosis. These sort of sensors are expected to not only play an important role in the diagnosis from blood, saliva and urine samples but also in monitoring portable biological contaminants where many diseases are borne. We are also interested in bioquantification of biomarkers and cells, particularly electrochemical methods such as voltammetry and amperometry which are generally adopted transducing techniques for the development of innovative optical imaging methods such as photoluminescence and Raman imaging, electrochemical sensors for enzymatic biosensing, DNA sensing, and immunosensing. The potential of this class of biosensors for accurate detection and biological free-labeling results from the extraordinary characteristics in terms of high electrical and thermal conductivity, aspect ratio, optical transparency and remarkable mechanical and chemical stability of graphene.