The Department of Bioengineering is pleased to announce the inaugural recipients of the UCLA Bioengineering Undergraduate Research Award. This award recognizes outstanding Bioengineering undergraduate students who have shown a strong commitment to research. These awards were initiated by a generous donation from the 2013 Senior Capstone Design Team who won First Place in the NIH Design Competition and Second Place in the BMEStart Biomedical Design Competition. The gift was followed by a 2014 Senior Capstone Design Team who won First Place in the UC Systemwide Bioengineering Symposium for Senior Capstone Design. Many Bioengineering faculty have donated to this fund as well. Each award carries a cash prize of $250, and the next deadline for applications will be August 2016.
Paper-based diagnostics have great potential in improving healthcare in resource-poor settings, but these tests are often significantly less accurate than lab-based assays. My proposed project aims to increase the sensitivity of the lateral-flow immunoassay by utilizing gold nanoprobes and aqueous two-phase systems to concentrate target biomolecules into a smaller volume. My research will focus on gaining insight to the specific mechanisms behind the processes that have been observed. First, phase separation in different porous media will be examined to better understand the observed phase separation on paper. In addition, phase separation has been found to cause gold nanoprobes to adsorb onto certain solid surfaces, and this phenomenon is also being investigated as a potential extraction technique.
Karenia brevis is a microscopic organism that is abundant along Florida coastal waters as well as the Gulf of Mexico. During its algal blooms, K. brevis secretes harmful toxins. The traditional way to monitor waterborne pathogens involves manual sampling of the water followed by traditional light microscope identification. The goal of this project is to use lens-free holographic imaging to design and build a field portable color video digital holographic microscope that scans water for the presence of K. brevis. This portable cost effective device can be especially useful to analyze and classify water samples in real-time, on the field, allowing a much more efficient and practical means for assessing the biological composition of various water samples.
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported sexually transmitted infection in the United States, with over 1.4 million infections reported in 2013. The goal of my proposed research project is to develop a simple, yet sensitive, paper-based diagnostic assay to detect the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis (CT). The detection of CT will be enhanced by concentration in an aqueous two-phase system that will phase separate as it flows on paper with the use of a three-dimensional paper architecture. Simultaneous detection and concentration of CT will allow for a diagnostic test that is inexpensive and easy to use, allowing for frequent testing and rapid results.