The trio aim to catch colorectal cancer, heart failure, and other maladies in their earliest, most treatable stages with a nano-size biosensor that can detect minute amounts of specific proteins in a drop of blood. The low-cost chip works within minutes and its precision means it could one day save many lives.
“Physicians could use our chip to monitor patients and see how a treatment is working,” adds Yilmaz. He is a mechanical engineering postdoc; Malima is an electrical and computer engineer; and Upponi is a pharmaceutical scientist.
Donors to Northeastern’s student-run venture accelerator, IDEA, provided start-up funding. Major support came from the Keck Foundation and from the National Science Foundation through the university’s NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering
Center for High-rate Nanmanufacturing, which patented the chip technology.
After completing their tests on mice, the former graduate students spun off a company, Biolom. Next steps: to seek venture capital and start trials in humans.