About the event
Speaker: Prof. Charles Henry
Professor, Chemical & Biological Engineering, Chemistry
Colorado State University
Title: Advancing Point of Care Diagnostics Using Capillary Flow Microfluidics
Abstract: Point-of-care (POC) technologies have been a useful tool in medical diagnostics for decades with the handheld glucometer as a leading example. The COVID-19 pandemic further pushed POC technologies to the forefront of many people’s thinking as a critical tool in the fight against the disease. In addition, the pandemic has expanded the opportunities for using these tools as important tools outside of just human health applications. However, a major conundrum in POC diagnostics has been the tradeoff between assay performance (sensitivity, specificity, LOD, etc) and ease of use for the average user. The simplest diagnostics require 1-2 user steps to achieve a result but lack the ability to detect low analyte levels. An example of this is the recent development of rapid antigen tests that essentially only provide useful results for individuals with high viral loads. Increasing sensitivity to make tests useful at lower viral loads would necessitate either added user steps or a significant increase in cost. Microfluidic Paper-based Analytical Devices (mPADs) have received significant attention as a tool to address current shortcomings because they are cheap (costing pennies per device), easy to use, and can perform a wide range of chemical assays. mPADs are normally made from porous hydrophilic materials patterned with hydrophobic materials to create flow barriers to direct flow from a sample inlet through sample pretreatment zones to a detection zone. Furthermore, functional elements like electrodes can be easily integrated, improvingfunctionality, sensitivity, and selectivity. Despite their advantages, mPADs are frequently limited to long analysis times (10s if minutes) due to slow capillary flow and poor limits of detection. Our group has recently reported capillary-flow driven microfluidic devices that use channels formed using laser patterning in polyester films and double-sided adhesive combined with paper-based pumps and reagent storage systems to enhance the performance of mPADs. This talk will focus on this new system and its applications for point-of-need diagnostics with applications in both clinical and environmental diagnostics.