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Frederick Haselton

Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Professor of Chemistry

Biomedical Engineering

Intellectual Neighborhoods

Research Focus

We seek to develop technologies for diagnostic and research applications at the nano and molecular level using both in vitro and in vivo systems. Our laboratory has a strong collaborative and experimental focus as indicated by the current examples listed below.

Current Projects

“Coffee Ring Diagnostics for Malaria” – The goal of this unique microfluidics project is to develop a low-cost & simple diagnostic device for the detection of malaria suitable for low resource environments. Our current design uses the presence of a malarial biomarker to alter the microfluidic transport of particles in an evaporating drop and produce visually detectable changes in particle ring formation. Current efforts are directed at adapting this technology to detection of tuberculosis.

“Biological sample processing based on surface tension valves” - This self-contained processing device captures biomarker targets of interest from complex biological matrices on the surface of magnetic carrier beads which convey the biomarker targets through a series of processing solutions to concentrate them and reduce the concentration of constituents that interfere with the detection of biomarkers. Current projects focus on developing designs for commercial applications of this technology.

“Compensated scattering interferometry” – Detection of molecular interactions remains a significant challenge. This project expands on a novel solution-phase assay methodology that is truly label-free, target/probe agnostic and exhibits sub-picomolar sensitivity. The goal of this project is to combine a newly discovered transduction method, compensated scattering interferometry, with aptamer probes to provide a field-compatible assay in serum or urine.

“Enhancement of lateral flow assays for molecular detection of biomarkers of infection” - There is an unmet need for new biomarker detection designs that increase sensitivity yet retain simplicity and easy interpretation by the user. The goal of this project is to develop “LFA 2.0” designs that enable simple and inexpensive diagnostic testing. Our approach is based on a improvements to the current single-use cassette.

“Use of mirror image DNA for point-of-care molecular testing” – The polymerase chain reaction is the current gold standard for molecular diagnosis. Current instrumentation is focused on designs that are restricted to well-equipped laboratories. Our recent publication shows that the enantiomeric form of DNA can be used to more directly control the polymerase reaction and provides a development pathway for implementing diagnostic testing in point-of-care settings.


  1. Adams NM, Gabella WE, Hardcastle AN, Haselton FR. Adaptive PCR Based on Hybridization Sensing of Mirror-Image L-DNA. Analytical Chemistry. 2016. DOI:10.1021/acs.analchem.6b03291
  2. Scherr TF, Ryskoski HB, Sivakumar A, Ricks KM, Adams NM, Wright DW, Haselton FR. A handheld orbital mixer for processing viscous samples in low resource settings. Anal. Methods. 2016 Sep 1; 8:7347-7353. DOI: 10.1039/C6AY01636G
  3. Ricks KM, Adams NM, Scherr TF, Haselton FR, Wright DW. Direct transfer of pfHRPII-bound magnetic beads to malaria rapid diagnostic tests significantly improves test sensitivity. Malaria J. 2016 Aug 5;15(1):399. PMCID: PMC4975893
  4. Scherr TF, Gupta S, Wright DW, Haselton FR. Mobile phone imaging and cloud-based analysis for standardized malaria detection and reporting.Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 27;6:28645. PMCID: PMC4921854
  5. Bordelon H, Davis KM, Pask ME, Russ PK, Solinas F, Baglia ML, Short PA, Nel A, Blackburn J, Dheda K, Zamudio C, Caceres T, Wright DW, Haselton FR, Pettit AC. Magnetic extraction of transrenal Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA for PCR detection from urine (J. Microbiological Methods, in revision).
  6. Scherr TF, Ryskoski HB, Doyle AB, Haselton FR. A two-magnet strategy for improved mixing and capture from biofluids. Biomicrofluidics. 2016 Apr 11;10(2):024118. PMCID:PMC4833749
  7. Russ PK, Karhade A, Bitting A, Doyle A, Solinas F, Wright DW, Haselton FR. A prototype biomarker detector combining biomarker extraction and fixed temperature PCR. J Laboratory Autom. 2016 Aug;21(4):590-598. DOI: 10.1177/2211068216634072
  8. Bitting AL, Bordelon H, Baglia ML, Davis KM, Creecy AE, Short PA, Albert LE, Karhade AV, Wright DW, Haselton FR, Adams NM. Automated device for asynchronous extraction of RNA, DNA, or protein biomarkers from surrogate patient samples. J Laboratory Automation. 2015 Jul 20; pii: 2211068215596139.
  9. Creecy AE, Russ PK, Solinas F, Wright DW, Haselton FR. Tuberculosis biomarker extraction and isothermal amplification in an integrated diagnostic device. PLoS One. 2015 Jul 1; 10(7): e0130260.
  10. Adams NM, Bordelon H, Wang KK, Albert LE, Wright DW, Haselton FR. Comparison of three magnetic bead surface functionalities for RNA extraction and detection. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2015 Mar;7(11):6062-6069.