Engineering Tools for Malaria Eradication

Interdisciplinary Areas: Engineering and Healthcare/Medicine/Biology, Human-Machine/Computer Interaction, Human Factors, Human-Centered Design

Project Description

Asymptomatic cases of malaria act as silent reservoirs for potential disease spread, making communities severely at risk. Our team is designing a smartphone-based disease diagnostic platform to target a multitude of diseases, including malaria. In order to be maximally impactful and support current efforts that move toward malaria eradication, highly sensitive devices that are able to detect small amounts of pathogen seen in asymptomatic cases are needed. We seek a multi-disciplinary minded post doctoral scholar with experience in microfluidics and assay design to design and perform passive blood processing and separation of red blood cells from white blood cells and plasma. The project will focus on development of a platform that can isolate or enrich for malaria plasmodium or infected red blood cells and amplify a target DNA sequence, on-chip. This would involve microfluidic chip design, novel approaches for enrichment, nucleic acid primer design, and electronics integration for heating and control. Further, the platform should be designed with the end-user in mind, a field worker or clinician, to enable minimal user steps. The ideal candidate should be interested in designing user-centered design, feasibility, and implementation to assess downstream usability of the device. 

Start Date

Spring/Summer 2019

Postdoc Qualifications

A background in mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, or similar fields is desired. Experience in microfluidics, separations, imaging or micro total analysis systems is required. Must be willing to work on multidisciplinary teams and possess excellent interpersonal communication skills.  


Steve Wereley
Mechanical Engineering

Tamara L. Kinzer-Ursem
Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering

Jacquline Linnes
Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering 


1. DNA Microviscosity Characterization with Particle Diffusometry for Downstream DNA Detection Applications.
Clayton KN, Berglund GD, Linnes JC, Kinzer-Ursem TL, Wereley ST.
Anal Chem. 2017 Dec 19;89(24):13334-13341. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b03513. Epub 2017 Dec 6.
PMID: 29148723

2. Measuring biotherapeutic viscosity and degradation on-chip with particle diffusometry.
Clayton KN, Lee D, Wereley ST, Kinzer-Ursem TL.
Lab Chip. 2017 Nov 21;17(23):4148-4159. doi: 10.1039/c7lc00507e.
PMID: 29115357