The Australian National University


Our Health in Our Hands

ANU Grand Challenge


October 2019, Edition 3

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Dear Colleagues and Friends,

This month, we introduce the Sensors and Biomarkers Research Program and team of Our Health in Our Hands (OHIOH).

The Sensor and Biomarkers research program focuses on the development of point-of-care and wearable devices for measurement of existing, emerging and novel biomarkers for Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis by non- and minimally-invasive approaches. This is essential to the core mission of OHIOH of providing a more effective and equal healthcare irrespective of geographical location or social circumstances. Our future miniaturised biomedical sensing devices will enable us to collect essential metabolic and disease indicators without the need of expensive and/or far-located central facilities. This will also enable us to implement artificial intelligent approaches that will combine phenotypic data collected by these novel devices with genotypic information for: monitoring the progress of a disease (e.g. efficacy of personalised medicine treatment); very early-stage detection before end organ damage; understanding and revealing the mechanism of the disease in different genotype, resulting in the development of novel precision medicine approach.

A major challenge for the development of miniaturised biomedical sensors for point-of-care and wearable devices is the very low concentration of the disease markers that needs to be measured. In terms of number, this is comparable to finding a person in India or in another big nation. Achieving sufficient selectivity and sensitivity for many disease markers with a device of a few square centimetres is not possible by using current existing technologies, and it requires the development of new approaches. The Sensor and Biomarkers research program brings together unique ANU expertise and strengths from the Research Schools of Chemistry, Physics and Engineering to develop new sensing platforms for ultra-low biomarker detections. Our approach relies on the latest advance in Nanotechnology, Optoelectronics and Protein Engineering to advance current state of the art in biomedical sensing with focus on disease markers for Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis. In addition to this focus, at this stage, we are working closely with the OHIOH Health Experience and Artificial Intelligence research programs to co-develop new sensor devices with the future users, and to make more out of medical biomarker readings.

In recent research and education news, we would like to congratulate Prof Dragomir Neshev and the other ANU CIs, for the award Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems. Having a synergistic research focus and several joint CIs with the OHIOH Sensors and Biomarkers Research Program, the ARC CoE will help develop smaller, smarter, faster and cheaper wearable optical sensors to better monitor our health in real-time. We would also like to highlight a very successful ANU Capstone project (ENGN4221), where students Yuchen Wang, Alexander Cavalli, Rowan Kennedy, Ryan Pike, Wei Hong Lui, Lina Raihana Abd Rahim and Robert Halbich have developed the integration of a portable breath sensor device prototype with a phone, enabling the readout of biomarkers contained in breath. Image below shows part of the team presenting their work together with their prototype and integrated app on a mobile phone. Some of our recent findings on the development of miniaturised sensing platforms for low-concentration disease marker measurements will be presented as an invited talk to the IEEE Sensor conference in Montreal at the end of October, and in Melbourne mid-December. We would like to invite students, colleagues and anyone interested in contacting us for possible collaborative projects.

Best wishes,

Antonio Tricoli - Sensors and Biomarkers Lead

Team members presenting a prototype and integrated app



Transformative Meta-Optical Systems - ARC CoE

Developing the next-generation of miniaturised optical systems with functionalities beyond what is conceivable today. By harnessing the disruptive concept of meta-optics, the Centre will overcome complex challenges in light generation, manipulation and detection at the nanoscale. Read more»



Health Experience Team

Professor Luis Salvador-Carulla and Dr Nasser Bagheri are members of the OHIOH Health Experience Team. They are conducting research to map out the health ecosystem for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients in the ACT region. They will develop an integrated atlas of MS to explore the gaps in care provision for people living with MS. This will provide a baseline understanding of MS health services in the ACT. It will also provide a decision-making tool that can be used by people with MS, health professionals, MS groups and organisations for monitoring, reviewing and improving MS health systems of care in the ACT region. Read more»





ACT MS Symposium 2019

29 October. Registration via Eventbrite.

MS Research Australia Conference

31 October and 1 November. Dr Jane Desborough and Dr Jo Lane will be presenting.

Medical Machine Learning A/Prof Hanna Suominen to present an invited talk, ANU CECS Dean’s monthly seminar - 30 October

IEEE Sensor 2019 27-30 October 2019, Montreal, Canada. Prof Antonio Tricoli will present "Chemical, Electrochemical and Gas Sensors".

The 8th Annual NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation: 20-21 November A/Prof Hanna Suominen to present a poster, titled "Innovative Machine Intelligence and Cybersecurity Solutions to Safeguard the Patient Information Associated with a New Generation of Medical Devices"



  • Dr Artem Lenskiy (Research Fellow)
  • Mr Chirath Hettiarachchi (PhD Student)

    ACT Multiple Sclerosis Symposium – October 2019


    The ACT MS Symposium 2019 will be held on 29 Oct at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU. This free public event will focus on personalised and integrated management of MS. We are pleased to announce that we have secured an international keynote speaker on that topic.

    » Register here


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