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Your Environment. Your Health.

University of California-Davis

Superfund Research Program

Field-Deployable Lab-on-a-Chip Nanosensing Platforms for Health and Environmental Monitoring

Project Leader: Gang Sun
Grant Number: P42ES004699
Funding Period: 2017-2022
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Project Summary (2017-2022)

The research team develops and applies automated field deployable lab-on-a-chip nanosensing platforms with high throughput, sensitivity and efficiency for multifunctional analysis of hazardous substances relevant to health and environmental monitoring in the University of California (UC) Davis Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center.

As extensive human activities pose increased environmental challenges worldwide, modern environmental monitoring and analytical technologies become particularly important to protect human health from adverse exposure to industrial pollutants, and to considerably improve public awareness. However, conventional laboratory-based analytical instruments are typically expensive and bulky, and require elaborate operational procedures conducted by dedicated personnel.

The objective of this work is to deliver field deployable multipurpose lab-on-a-chip technologies enabled by emerging microfluidics and nanosensing technologies for application in environmental monitoring and human health. Specifically, two innovative technological platforms to be investigated are:

  1. A microfluidic print-to-analyze (MPA) system for highthroughput high-sensitivity biomolecular analysis (Aim I), and
  2. A field-deployable ELISA-on-a-chip platform to incorporate quantitative nanosensing molecular assays (Aims II-IV), from which a 3D printable device can be customized and interfaced with mobile devices for health and environmental monitoring.


Upon development, these technologies are expected to facilitate multiplexed, quantitative, automated processing and analysis of human biospecimens and environmental samples, with high sensitivity, quick turnover at low cost. Initial studies will involve testing these devices to detect pesticides and their degradation products, as an identified high concern for the Center's community partner. More broadly, these platforms will be easily adaptable to commercial biorecognition molecules and detection of numerous Superfund priority chemicals. Overall, this research project directly advances the NIEHS mandate to develop analytical tools for the detection of hazardous chemicals and to apply them to environmental and human health monitoring applications.

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