Dr. Umer Hassan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"Point-of-Care Translational Biosensors for Disease Diagnostics Applications"
Infectious diseases remain the leading cause of mortality around the world. Diagnosing disease at its onset will have a critical impact in timely administrating the therapeutic interventions that could result in saving patient lives. The availability of Point-of-Care (PoC) diagnostic testing can have a significant impact on the early patient stratification. In this talk, I will discuss my research work on development of PoC biosensors for disease diagnostics in particular HIV/AIDS and sepsis. I will present the differential immuno-capture technology that I developed for specific leukocyte counting and quantifying the cell surface antigen expression levels.
First, roughly 33 million people are infected with HIV with 68% of them living in sub-Saharan Africa. I will talk about the microfluidic biochip developed to electrically enumerate CD4+ and CD8+ T cells for AIDS diagnostics from a drop of blood. In clinical studies, biochip is tested from blood samples collected from healthy and HIV infected donors. Second, in case of sepsis, roughly 5 million patients are admitted annually to ICUs in the United States, of these, severe sepsis strikes to more than 1 million people, with an estimated 30 percent of these people die. My work has been focused on quantifying CD64 neutrophil, total leukocyte count and its subtypes as potential cellular biomarkers for sepsis diagnostics. I have developed a biochip that can quantify these biomarkers using only 10μL of whole blood at PoC in less than 20 minutes.
Finally, I will conclude with the discussion on the emerging challenges in infectious disease diagnostics and therapeutics in particular the roles of immuno-engineering, antibiotic resistance and precision pharmacotherapy in patients’ stratification. PoC personalized-theranostics for infectious diseases could drastically reduce the time to appropriate treatment, dramatically increase survival rates, and save healthcare systems billions of dollars around the world. Theranostics enabled by advances in microfluidics and nanotechnologies can be an important part of the solution.
Umer Hassan is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Department of Bioengineering at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) with a Research Affiliate appointment at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana. He completed Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering with emphasis on biosensing and nanotechnology from UIUC in 2015. Umer’s research has been focused on developing point-of-care (PoC) translational biosensors for disease diagnostic and therapeutic applications. He is the recipient of Baxter Young Investigator Award (2016), Emerging Engineer Award (2015), Cozad New Venture Competition Award (2014), NSF I-Corps Fellowship (2014) and Our Common Future Fellowship (2010).