Graduate student Sungjae Ha and a team of researchers at MIT have found a way to detect early-stage malarial infection of blood cells by measuring changes in the infected cells’ electrical properties.
The scientists, from the laboratories of MIT’s Anantha Chandrakasan and Subra Suresh — who is now president of Carnegie Mellon University — have built an experimental microfluidic device that takes a drop of blood and streams it across an electrode that measures a signal differentiating infected cells from uninfected cells. The work, published Aug. 8 in the journal Lab on a Chip, is a first step toward a field-ready, low-cost, portable malaria-detection device.
“Ultimately the goal would be to create a postage stamp-sized device with integrated electronics that can detect if a person has malaria and at what stage,” says Chandrakasan, the Joseph F. and Nancy P. Keithley Professor of Electrical Engineering and a principal investigator at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL), who specializes in developing low-power electronic devices. Similar diagnostics may be applicable to other infections and diseases. Continue reading at MIT NEWS. Photo by Patricia Sampson/EEEC.