DAY ONE – March 22, 2017

8:15    Registration/Check-in; Coffee and Bagels

8:55    Workshop Opening and Welcome

9:00     Introduction to Principles of Biochemical Sensing

Dr. V. Renugopalakrishnan, Professor of Bioengineering, Intensive Care Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School; and Visiting Research Professor, Northeastern University


Signal transduction; physico-chemical and biological transducers; Sensor types and technologies. Definitions and Concepts. Terminology and working vocabulary: Main technical definitions: calibration, selectivity, sensitivity, reproducibility, detection limits, response time; issues and trade-offs. (a) Enzymes; oligonucleotides and nucleic acids; lipids (langmuir-blodgett bilayers, phospholipids, liposomes); membrane receptors and transporters; immunoreceptors; (b) Catalytic biosensors: mono-enzyme electrodes; bi-enzyme electrodes: enzyme sequence electrodes and enzyme competition electrodes; (c) Affinity-based biosensors; Inhibition-based biosensors; cell-based biosensors. Biochips and biosensor arrays.

10:30   Refreshment Break

10:45  Sensor Platform: Graphene and Beyond

Dr. Pulickel M. Ajayan, Professor of Engineering / Materials Science & NanoEngineering / Chemistry, Rice University (via live webcasting)


(Abstract forthcoming)

11:30  Smartphone Biosensors: Lab-in-a-Pocket Diagnostics

Dr. Brian T. Cunningham, Professor of Engineering; Director, Micro & Nanotechnology Lab, Depts of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (via live webcasting)


Since their introduction in 1997, “smart” mobile phones with internet connectivity, high resolution cameras, touch-screen displays, and powerful CPUs have gained rapid market acceptance driven by a combination of falling prices and increasingly sophisticated features. In addition, there is a growing ecosystem of applications that take advantage of the phone’s sensors, display, and connection to powerful computing and data storage capabilities that are available in the “cloud.” The built-in capabilities of smartphones can be further extended through the addition of accessories that enable the phone to sense different types of information. Incorporation of biosensing into mobile platforms is a potentially powerful development, as biological assay capabilities that have previously only been available through expensive laboratory-based instruments may be utilized by anyone. Such developments may help to facilitate the goal of “personalized medicine” in which home-based tests may be used to diagnose a medical condition, but with a system that automatically communicates results to a cloud-based monitoring system that alerts the physician when warranted. Low-cost portable biosensor systems integrated with mobile devices may also enable diagnostic technology that can be translated to resource-poor regions of the world for pathogen detection, disease diagnosis, and monitoring of nutritional status. Such systems, deployed widely, would be capable of rapidly monitoring for the presence of environmental contaminants over large areas, or tracking the development of a medical condition throughout a large population. This talk will summarize recent developments in the utilization of integrated smartphone cameras as a high resolution spectrophotometer that is capable of measuring ELISA assays, label-free photonic crystal biosensor assays, thin film chromatography, and fluorescence spectroscopy. Utilizing special purpose, low-cost cradles for common smartphones and plastic microfluidic devices for facilitating liquid-handling tasks, we have demonstrated detection of cancer biomarkers, food allergens, pathogen DNA, organic contamination of beverage dispensing lines, and fraudulent drugs – with performance that rivals results obtained with conventional laboratory instruments. Current efforts are aimed at developing a smartphone-based multimode (ELISA, FRET, FP, and Photonic Crystal) detection instrument that can perform the functions of several laboratory-based tools.

12:30     Lunch

2:00    Point of Care Device Design and Fabrication

Dr. Dorian Liepman, Professor, Sensor and Actuator Group, Depts of Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering, University of California Berkeley (via live webcasting)


Once the actual biosensor chip has been made, it still needs to be integrated into a device that can be used outside of the laboratory. In general, this entails designing a microfluidic system that can acquire, prepare, and move the sample to the sensor chip. In addition, some form of signal transduction must be done to provide a readable output. Examples of the output range from visual indications such as blue lines for a pregnancy test to more accurate concentration measurements for a glucometer. Material choices for device fabrication will also be discussed with reference to manufacturability of the final ‘product’. In this light, new methods for integrating single layer graphene-based sensors into plastic point-of-care devices will be shown.

3:30   Refreshment Break

3:45       Four Orders of Magnitude: Nanophotonic Biosensors for Detection of Molecules to Tissues

Dr. Brian T. Cunningham, Professor of Engineering; Director, Micro & Nanotechnology Lab, Depts of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (via live webcasting)


Using nanostructured surfaces that can harness light, and concentrate its electromagnetic fields into extremely small volumes, optics-based sensors offer an effective route for measuring light-matter interactions. This session will highlight recent technological developments in which photonic crystals, photonic nanodome arrays, and plasmon-resonant nanoparticles are used for applications in biosensing. In addition to the nanostructures themselves, it is also critical to develop detection instrumentation that can effectively couple light into the nanostructures, and to detect properties of light that is transmitted, scattered, or reflected from the sensor. The presentation will climb the length scale from detection of small molecule drugs, protein biomarkers for cancer, HIV virus, metal nanoparticles, individual cells, and the chemical absorption properties of tissue through the introduction of several technologies developed in the past three years. New detection instruments that are capable of utilizing the unique properties of photonic crystal surfaces including photonic crystal enhanced fluorescence, photonic crystal enhanced microscopy, and external cavity laser biosensors have been demonstrated that enable label-free imaging of live cell surface attachment, measurement of HIV viral load, characterization of cancer from a single droplet of serum, and small molecule pharmaceutical screening. Using periodic arrays of gold nanodomes with <20 nm electromagnetic hot spots, we have demonstrated integration of SERS surfaces into the inner surfaces of biomedical tubing for real-time detection of intravenously delivered drugs. By designing integrated arrays of narrowband nano resonant optical filters that operate in the infrared, we have developed a discrete-frequency rapid sampling approach for chemical imaging-based histopathology. For each of these technologies, the ability to inexpensively fabricate nanostructured sensors from materials such as plastic, glass, or silicon is critical for applications in biology that require low cost mass production. Advances in the sensitivity, cost, size, and flexibility of nanostructure-enabled detection instruments are driving their adoption toward applications in point-of-use diagnostics, life science research, and environmental monitoring.

5:00     Concluding Remarks and discussion for Day One

Dr. V. Renugopalakrishnan, Professor of Bioengineering, Intensive Care Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School; and Visiting Research Professor, Northeastern University

5:30       End of Day One


DAY TWO – March 23, 2017

8:15    Check-in; Coffee and Bagels
9:00     Point-of-Care Breath-based Diagnostics Using Gas Chromatography – Differential Mobility Spectrometry

Dr. Anthony F. Coston, Head of Medical Services, The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.


In collaboration with: Kenneth A. Markoski, Spiros Z. Manolakos, Jose A. Santos; Draper Lab; Sophia Koo, Xinwei Yu, Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School


Point-of-care health diagnostic systems are a focus for many clinical applications, with special emphasis on non-invasive or minimally-invasive technologies, aimed at lower healthcare costs and improved patient outcomes. One particularly promising area of laboratory and clinical research focuses on the diagnostic utility of trace metabolites and other chemicals found in exhaled breath. This presentation will focus on the use of a portable Gas Chromatograph – Differential Mobility Spectrometry (GC-DMS) system for rapid, point-of-care, breath-based diagnostics.  The development of a GC-DMS breath-based test for invasive aspergillosis will be discussed as a prime example of the promising clinical utility of the technology.

10:30   Refreshment Break

11:00     Point-Of-Use Platforms for Medical Diagnosis and Environmental Monitoring

Dr. Tian Lan, Chief Technical Officer, GlucoSentient, Inc.


In collaboration with: ANDalyze, Inc.


Convenient, low-cost and quantitative detection of broad range of targets has the great potential to revolutionize today’s practice for medical diagnostic and environmental monitoring. Despite years of research, very few such devices have been commercialized at a large scale; and today’s blood glucose meter (BGM) is probably the most successful marketed point-of-care device, driven by the need of million diabetics around the world to monitor their blood glucose levels. As the result of decades of R&D and commercialization efforts, the BGM is almost the ideal sensing platform offering convenience, low-cost and quantitation. Instead of designing a new platform that can be time consuming and costly, GlucoSentient have developed an innovative method that adapts the BGM platform to quantify a wide range of targets including metal ions, small molecules, proteins and nucleic acid sequences. The method adopts invertase that converts substrates (undetectable by BGM) into glucose as a reporter enzyme and conveniently converts traditional ELISA assays into BGM compatible assays. Using this assay principle, GlucoSentient has developed a prototype system for monitoring blood levels of therapeutic drugs. In addition, a portable system for monitoring heavy ions in water using functional DNA technology will be discussed.

12:30     Lunch

2:00     Cellometer Image Cytometry as a Novel Method for Yeast Analysis in Biofuel and Brewing Industries

Dr. Leo Li-Ying Chan, Director of Technology / R&D, Nexcelom Bioscience, LLC


Cellometer image cytometry has been heavily utilized in biomedical research such as immuno-oncology, toxicology, and bio-processing.  Cell concentration, viability, morphology, and fluorescence analysis are highly important for many cell-based assays, which are routinely performed using image cytometers.  In addition to biomedical applications, Cellometer image cytometry method has also supported research and production in the biofuel and brewing industries.  Yeast is a highly important organism used for fermentation, and has been an essential component of beer production for centuries. The viability and vitality of yeast during a fermentation brewing process is an especially important consideration for proper cell growth, consistent flavor, and optimal production yield. The current definition of viability refers to yeast with intact membranes, while vitality refers to yeast with quantifiable metabolic activity and an ability to proliferate. Yeast may be viable, but may not be actively proliferating, which can affect the fermentation process. The traditional method for measuring yeast viability utilizes manual counting of methylene blue stained yeast cells in a hemacytometer. However, this method can be time consuming and has user-dependent variations.  By designing an instrumentation specifically for measuring yeast characteristics, it can be used to monitor yeast health that can improve quality assurance procedures and produce more consistent beverage products (quality, flavor, alcohol content, etc.).  In this presentation, we will focus on understanding customer requirements in this unique industry, and translating the requirements into engineering specifications to bring a highly useful product to the end users.

3:30   Refreshment Break

3:45     Samsung Electronics America, Inc. (To Be Confirmed)

(Abstract forthcoming)

5:15     Concluding Remarks and Discussion

Dr. V. Renugopalakrishnan, Professor of Bioengineering, Intensive Care Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School; and Visiting Research Professor, Northeastern University

5:30       End of Workshop