BME PhD Proposal Presentation: Hsin-I Peng
Development of a Microfluidic DNA-based Pathogen Detection System
Supervised by Prof. Benjamin Miller
The development of an efficient and reliable pathogen detection system is an important endeavor as pathogenic identification is the first and most critical step for fighting infectious diseases. However, current methodology for bacteriological testing in microbiology laboratories still relies heavily on laborious biochemical testing, sample enrichment, and immunoassay, which consumes time and increases susceptibility to false positives. False positive results will lead to antibiotic overprescription. A relatively long detection time is problematic, as there is no room for time delay when patients await the appropriate treatments.
Recently, microfluidic technology is widely acknowledged in the field of diagnostics due to its potential for automation and a reduction in assay time as a result of a more efficient mass transfer leveraged by the fluidic components. Herein, we propose a microfluidic DNA-based pathogen detection system by employing nanostructured Ag surfaces as the sensing substrates. Different from the traditional bacterial detection methodology (biochemical, serological, or morphological testing), DNA-based detection system targets the unique signature each pathogen carries. The Ag substrates in the system serve as anchoring materials for DNA probe attachment, and at the same time to amplify the fluorescence signal as a result of localized surface plasmon resonance.
We will first set out to examine the possibility of such an integrated system (microfluidics in conjunction with nanostructured Ag surfaces) for DNA detection, studying the correlation between important physical parameters, such as fluidic flow and reaction time, and detection performance. With an optimization of these fluidic parameters, we can then demonstrate multi-analyte detection as a potential route to further reduce false positives. Finally, we will test the utility of the designed system on uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) detection. Findings of this proposal may be beneficial for the design of microfluidic DAN-based detection system and pave a way toward realizing the potential of point-of-care (POC) and portable global health detection technology.