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Bio-Inkjet Printed Nanozymes for Smartphone-compatible, Rapid Antigen Detection

Primary Investigators:
Charleson Bell, PhD
Todd D. Giorgio, PhD 

Brief Description of Project:
Our lab is currently developing a smartphone-compatible, paper-based device which can be used to detect the presence of antigen on facility surfaces.  The paper-based device uses specialized-nanolabeled antibodies, called nanozymes, to specifically bind targeted antigen and facilitate a color change upon binding.  Through bio-ink jet printing the nanozymes into a specific pattern, the color change can be reported to remote stakeholders via smartphone.  To further this research, we are seeking undergraduate researchers to contribute by co-developing protocols to test nanozyme bio-inkjet printing capability and smartphone readability.  Furthermore, scholars will have the opportunity to work with bacteria of high interest to medical and military agencies.

Desired Qualifications:
Highly motivated scholars with a willingness to learn and innovate who are interested in bioengineering research that involves aspects of chemistry, biology, nanotechnology and smartphone technology. A background in chemistry and bioengineering is highly recommended. Previous knowledge/experience with cell/microbe culture is also desired, but not required.
 
Nature of Supervision:
The undergraduate researcher will have the opportunity to meet at least once per week with the PI to discuss progress and next steps. Hands-on lab training and support will be provided by a research assistant who will serve as the mentor and primary point of contact.
 
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
Scholars will be involved in the development (prototyping) and characterization of a nanozyme-immobilized nitrocellulose sheet.  SEM, TEM and florescent microscopy will be utilized to characterize the developed materials.  In fabrica testing will be performed by dropcasting antigen-containing aqueous solutions on the sheets.  Color intensities will be enumerated from smartphone-collected images via image analysis software.  Smartphone-readability will be validated using proprietary software and industry benchmarks.  There is a high chance that by the end of the 10 weeks, the project will progress towards the use of microbe-excreted antigen.
 
Number of Open Slots: 2
 
Contact Information:
Name: Charleson Bell
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: c.s.bell@vanderbilt.edu