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.
Antonio Tricoli - Sensors and Biomarkers Lead