CURRENT GROUP MEMBERS
B.S., Temple University
Psuedomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen responsible for many hospital-acquired infections, and its ability to form biofilms contributes to its high antibiotic resistance, making these infections difficult to treat. While many studies have been performed on P.aeruginosa biofilms and bulk colonies, not much research has been done on the behavior of single P. aeruginosa bacteria. My work focuses on designing micropore electrode devices to be able to trap single bacteria and study their behavior upon changes to the surrounding environment through spectroscopic and electrochemical techniques.
B.S., University of Alabama
Fentanyl is a highly addictive synthetic opioid that is commonly used in acute analgesia and chronic pain management. Due to its high potency in minute quantities(~2mg), illicitly manufactured fentanyl analogs have been progressively used as an adulterant and frequently associated with the alarming increase in opioid related drug overdose death, commonly referred to as the “Opioid Overdose Crisis” by the National Institute on Drug abuse. Hidden in less potent drugs like heroin and morphine, fentanyl presents a threat to unsuspecting users, emphasizing the demand for field-deployable testing on par with lab setting discrimination. While there are efforts to develop more low-cost field deployable handheld detection devices, most still fail in the need to quantify concentrations of fentanyl. In addition, gold standard detection methods like mass spectroscopy still undergo challenges in miniaturization and ease of use for quantitative analysis.
My research aims to utilize the sensitivity and inherent miniaturization of electrochemistry and translate electrochemical signals to more simple optical intensities that can be quantified using electrochromic materials. This research will focus on optimization of signal amplification due to self-induced redox cycling inherent in closed bipolar electrochemistry through electrolyte and electrode surface modifications.
B.S., Penn State University
Many biological entities are present in low concentrations and require high sensitivity and low limits of detection to effectively study analytes. Digital counting using Single Molecule Arrays (Simoa) is currently the method of choice for detection as it uses a fluorescence response from a femtoliter sized well containing one analyte, but it does not allow potential or redox control of the environment. My research focuses on adapting Simoa to create a method that allows single molecules to be probed in a potential or redox controlled environment.
M.S., Heidelberg University
B.S., Heidelberg University
From recent advances in nanofabrication methods, a new generation of smart devices emerged, reducing their critical dimension down from the micro- to the nanoscale and enabling ultrasensitive detection even on the single-molecule level. Employing nano-confinements in an electrochemical cell provides multiple benefits, including enhanced mass transport by dominant radial diffusion, decreased charging currents and reduced ohmic losses. Combining electron transfer events of various biomolecules with a nano-confined electrode geometry enables an attractive approach for ultrafast, real-time sensing “lab-on-chip” devices.
Amid the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, rapid screening and identification of biomolecules is of utmost importance. Recent work within our group demonstrated the ability of detecting biomolecules by electron transfer events using nano electrode arrays (NEA), interdigitated electrode arrays (IDEA) or closed-bipolar electrodes (CBE). The achieved real-time response and ultrahigh sensitivity pave the way to electrochemical screen single-entity events, thus, my research focuses on fabricating and designing novel electrode low-volume nano-chips for rapid and cost-efficient diagnostics, minimizing the use of expensive and limited analytical equipment.