(122a) Micro and Nanotechnologies for Precision Medicine | AIChE

(122a) Micro and Nanotechnologies for Precision Medicine


Pennathur, S. - Presenter, University of California, Santa Barbara
Despite the plethora of new biotechnologies on the market, there is still a dearth of accurate, repeatable and reliable microtechnologies that can truly transform medical industry to date. Initially there were many attempts to simply miniaturize existing technologies, which led to many commercialization failures, since physics is not linear across spatial scales. Specifically, macroscale technologies hit fundamental size limits (sample size, abundance of chemical species, absorbance limits, etc), and thus inventing a micro- or nanofluidic technology often requires fundamental breakthroughs in physics, chemistry, fabrication, and materials engineering. Certainly, the last decade has brought about many of those new types of inventions, and in this talk I will highlight from an engineering perspective a few innovations from my laboratory at UCSB and/or companies I have founded that are relevant to the medical industry. In particular, I will highlight how fluids at the nanoscale behave different than micro- and macro scale counterparts because of the influence of the surface, and in particular, with electrical field driven systems, because of the influence of the electric double layer inherent at a solid-liquid interface of electrolyte-based analyte system (ie. biofluids). In addition, I will show how these differences can lead to unique physics couplings that allow for the detection of ions with selectivity and sensitivity that have never been yet achieved. Furthermore, this sort of detection leads to indirect detection of biomolecules, as ion concentration can change as biomolecular reactions occur. Finally, I will show results from the latest company I founded, that uses unique physics at the micro- and nanoscale to overcome the technological barriers needed to develop a painless, wearable glucose sensor that can be rapidly commercialized for patients with Type I diabetes, allowing them for more choices than the few that are out there.