Paola M. Morales-Carvajal


MIT Department: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Joel Voldman
Undergraduate Institution: Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, San Juan Campus; University of Puerto Rico; Institute of Neurobiology, University of Puerto Rico
Website: Website, LinkedIn
Research Poster


Paola M. Morales Carvajal, from the enchantment island, Puerto Rico courses her undergraduate studies at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico and at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus at the Natural Science Department. Her undergrad mayor is in biomedical engineering and recently she is being captivated in the neuroscience field researching in alcohol behavior under the tutelage of Dr. Cristina Velázquez-Marrero at the Institute of Neurobiology, Medical Science Campus of the University of Puerto Rico. Besides being an undergraduate student she is involved in the research, entrepreneurship and philanthropist ecosystem. During her undergraduate journey she has been in many leadership involvement as Chair of the IEEE, EMB and University Chapter of the Chamber of Commerce and other leadership positions as President of the General Student Council, board member of the executive committee of the University Chapter of the Chamber of Commerce of Puerto Rico and board of directors of different non profit organizations. Aside of her leadership path she’s founder of startups, product development and commercialization and recently she has been enganged in the public policy of Puerto Rico developing initiatives for the incrementation of research opportunities from the United State Congress to Puerto Rico Research ecosystem.
Beside her vocation she loves to read and practice extreme activities as surfing and BMX sports. Her research interest is in neuroengineering, microfluidic devices and tissue engineering. Her motto is: “Do everything you can with what you have in the place where you are.”

Keywords: Organ on A Chip, Neuroscience, Microfluidic Devices, Entrepreneurship, Public Service


2021 Abstract

A Point-of-Care Platform for Biomarker Detection Using Inkjet Printed
Microfluidic Chips

Paola M. Morales Carvajal1, Kruthika Kikkeri2, Joel Voldman2
1Biomedical Engineering. Polytechnic University of PR, 00918
2Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT, 02139

Point-of-Care (PoC) technologies are promising platforms for the detection and monitoring of a variety of diseases. Although PoCs have potential for several healthcare applications, there are still challenges in translating these platforms to clinical settings. In particular, up-scaling these devices for manufacturing is challenging because current methods can be very expensive, time-consuming, have low yield. Thus, an alternative method to manufacture PoC devices in less time, with less equipment is needed to have a cost-effective platform. Here, we present a technique for the fabrication of low-cost microfluidic devices through the printing of electrodes. The electrodes are inkjet printed on polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and then bonded to a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic chip. Carbon Ink (50mL Carbon Ink Metalon JR-700) was used for the electrodes array and different chemical techniques were implemented for bonding the PDMS structures to the printed electrodes to create a microfluidic chip. We characterized the printed electrodes and PDMS-PET bonding by examining the electrodes thickness, resitivity, adhesion of carbon to PET and delamination of assembled microfluidic chip. These chips will be used in an electrochemical immunoassay to detect inflammatory biomarkers. However, this microfabrication technique could be utilized for other microfluidic applications.