At the IDEATION Lab, we apply innovative engineering solutions to address major challenges in modern life science and medicine, currently using two main technologies: Microfluidics and Microneedles. Our microfluidic platforms enable answering fundamental biological questions in diabetes and cancer while microneedle-based devices allow minimally invasive patient tracking for POC settings.
Project #1: Moving beyond blood glucose with continuous multiplexed hormone measurement
Dr. Poudineh has led the development of a platform, called real-time enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or RT-ELISA, for continuous, and real-time monitoring of insulin and glucose in rats during her Postdoctoral fellow at Stanford. RT-ELISA is the first technique to provide continuous and simultaneous measurement of insulin with high sensitivity and sub-second temporal resolution. The RT-ELISA integrates aptamer- and antibody-based molecular probes into a bead-based fluorescence assay, wherein analyte concentrations are measured with a highly sensitive optical readout using a microfluidic chip. As a continuation of this project, at IDEATION Lab, we are developing the next generation of RT-ELISA system for continuous tracking of other diabetes related hormones and peptides including insulin, glucagon, and C-peptide in addition toas well as glucose. In this project, we are closely collaborating with the laboratory of Dr Jonathan D. Schertzer (https://www.schertzerlab.com/) at McMaster University to answer fundamental diabetes questions related to diabetes.
M. Poudineh*, C. L. Maikawa*, E. Yue Ma, J. Pan, D. Mamerow, Y. Han, S. w Baker, A. Beirami, M. Eisenstein, S. Kim, J. Vuckovic, E.A. Appel, and H. T. Soh, "A Fluorescence Sandwich Immunoassay for the Real-time Continuous Detection of Glucose and Insulin in Live Animals.," Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2021, 5, 53–63. [*equal contribution]
Project 2: Total cancer biomarker ranking for early disease/relapse detection
Circulating cancer biomarkers — including circulating tumor cells (CTC), tumor educated platelet, exosomes, circulating cell free DNA (cfDNA), and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) — represent a means to profile tumors non-invasively and collect information that can define individualized therapeutic regimens. Among these liquid biopsy biomarkers, ctDNA and exosomes are the ones that are released from cancerous cells. Exosomes are small membrane-bound cell fragments, between 30 and 150 nm in diameter, and have recently emerged as a new class of cancer biomarkers. These small vesicles are actively secreted by both healthy and cancer cells. The exosomes shed by cancer cells are known to carry molecular markers similar to those of their host tumors. ctDNA is mainly released by apoptotic or necrotic tumor cells and contains the genetic signature including the mutations from the cancer cells of origin while cfDNA originates both from tumor and non-tumor cells of the TME, as well as cells from other parts of the body. Elevated cfDNA fragment concentrations have been observed in the blood of cancer patients and in those with metastatic disease compared to non-metastatic patients, suggesting that this metric may be useful for diagnosis.
In this project, we focus on multiplexed profiling of exosomes and ctDNA directly from whole blood samples. We aim to develop a technology that can readily isolates exosomes and ctDNA from whole blood sample and sort them based on several cancer markers.
Project 3: Micorneedles devices for minimally invasive patient tracking for POC settings
Transdermal biosensing can bring us one step closer to personalized and precision medicine, as it enables the continuous tracking of patient health conditions in a non- or minimally invasive manner. Hydrogel microneedle (HMN)-based devices with a length less than 1000 μm and tips much sharper than hypodermic needle enable efficient piercing of the stratum corneum (outer layer of the skin) and simple interstitial fluid (ISF) extraction with the potential of integrating diagnostics. Compared to other MNs, HMNs possess several advantages, including increased rapid and effective ISF extraction, high biocompatibility, easy insertion and removal from the skin with no damages, and lower fabrication cost and higher production yield. However, they have not yet been applied for in-situ sensing. At IDEATION lab, we aim to tackle this challenge and develop HMN-based biosensors for minimally invasive and continuous tracking.
1. H. Zheng*, A. GhavamiNejad*, P. GhavamiNejad, M. Samarikhalaj, A. Giacca, and M. Poudineh, “A Hydrogel Microneedle-assisted Biosensor Integrating Aptamer Probes and Fluorescence Detection for Reagentless Biomarker Quantification,” Under review, 2021. [*equal contribution]