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Research

Ongoing Projects

1) Distributed Point of Care (POC) Molecular Diagnostics

Infectious diseases are a major cause of death and disability throughout the world. Research in the Linnes Lab focuses on using state of the art microfluidic and paperfluidic technologies to prevent, detect, and better understand the pathogenesis of these infectious diseases. In particular, these include developing point of care diagnostics for rapid disease detection, and determining the efficacy of therapeutic interventions via miniature bioassays for low resource settings. Working with our clinical collaborators in the field, we leverage and skills in microfluidic cell capture and rapid investigation of disease identity to efficiently diagnose a variety of environmental, bacterial, and viral pathogens at the point of care. Applications of this work range from global health to biodefense to personalized medicine.

 

The future of point of care testing enables general practitioners and patients themselves to detect diseases. However, these distributed sample-in answer-out tests will require simple operation, interpretation, and connectivity to other healthcare resources. We are utilizing paper-based fluidic connections and cell-phone powered resistive heating to develop portable, instrument-free, molecular diagnostics that are as easy to use as a digital pregnancy test.  With mobile molecular diagnostics, users can be connected to centralized healthcare settings for immediate referral and counseling. This research will create rapid diagnostics and devices that enable disease prevention and improved care anywhere in the world.

 
Techniques and Skills
  • Molecular biology
  • Porous media (paper) filtration
  • Microfluidics
  • BioMEMS
  • Thermal conductivity
  • Smart phone connectivity

Funding

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Explorations
  • Purdue Innovations in International Development Laboratory Seed Grant
  • Purdue Institute for Immunology, Inflammation, and Infectious Disease

 

2) Wearable Devices for Substance Abuse Monitoring and Overdose Detection

We are developing technologies to combat the ongoing Opioid Epidemic and improve medication adherence by designing unobtrusive devices that help patients to overcome their addictions. We are exploring temporary tattoo-based biosensors to non-invasively measure drug concentrations from sweat and wearable smartwatches to measure physiologic responses to overdose ranging from changes in heartrate, SpO2 and Respiration.

 

 

Other Interests

Pathogen Classification by Host Responses

The initial diagnosis required to treat acute infections such as sepsis and pneumonia is simply to differentiate between viral and bacterial pathogens. Yet current diagnostic methods can only rule out pathogens one-by-one. In contrast, we are developing detection mechanisms based on the hosts own response to these pathogens. This will allow for appropriate antibiotic/antiviral treatment to be provided to patients at the point of care.

Techniques and Skills
  • Immunology
  • Polymer chemistry
  • Cytometry/Microscopy
  • Microfluidics
 

Antibiotic Resistance Detection

Antimicrobial resistance costs more than $55 billion per year. With the advent of resistant “superbugs”, such as carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriacaea (CRE) and cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhoeae, antibiotics against bacteria are becoming increasingly ineffective and require careful monitoring around the world. Rapid detection of resistance phenotypes will allow for efficient utilization of the most appropriate therapies and prevent the spread of further resistance.

Techniques and Skills
  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • BioMEMS and biosensor design