Nano sensors for Monitoring/Diagnosing Stroke and Diabetes

A nano sensor device will provide a cost-effective and readily accessible testing solution.

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Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

Last year was very tense as my dad had a perpetual headache. Numerous times, it seemed as if he had a minor stroke, however the primary care physicians were unable to provide a conclusive answer. This incited my curiosity in researching novel ways to detect and diagnose immediately without expensive CT scans or MRIs. This way, specialized treatments can have greater success rates and the overall survival of the patient is more guaranteed. As I investigated further, I realized how important it was that chemicals were released through the respiratory system during a stroke. With a nano sensor device, the chemical composition of the breath can easily identify abnormalities that provide hard evidence that a stroke occurred within the last 24 hours. This would be extremely helpful in developing countries where CT scans and MRIs are not readily available.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The lack of easily accessible equipment that is low-cost is the problem I am trying to solve. The nano sensor device would be much more effective in determining whether a patient has an illness.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

I am planning to create a nano sensor during the summer at UPenn. The air trapped in the tube or balloon will pass through the nano sensor with specific chemical markers which measures the concentrations of certain chemicals like acetone to identify abnormality in the patient’s body. This is then converted to patient diagnoses.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

When a patient breathes into a tube-like end, the chemicals in the exhaled breath are analyzed against chemical markers with a nano sensor. This can be compiled into a readable format through basic software.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

This is a low-cost, readily accessible solution for many diseases like strokes and diabetes. Currently, a patient with diabetes must do a blood test, sometime twice a day by pricking their finger. This is very uncomfortable and in some cases, people skip or try to avoid these tests causing more complications in the long run. In addition, as blood tests are being done at home, there is a greater risk of infection. Our device will eliminate the shortcomings of the current devices.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Our project is currently in the idea phase. However, the testing at various hospitals and clinics will take our idea to the next step and will improve the device.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

I have planned time during the summer to work with professors at UPenn (since this college is currently active in this area of building diagnostic nano sensors). At the lab, I also am planning to begin building the actual nano sensor. After the physical model, that sensor will need analytical software to synthesize the chemical results into readable format.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

Monetary funding to create a physical model, and resources required to develop software.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

I could collaborate with change makers who are experts in software development and are interested in biomedical sciences. We can also plan to test at different clinics and hospitals in order to tweak and confirm the results of the device.

How did you hear about this challenge?

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Photo of Brittany Corner

Great Idea!

Photo of Arun

Thank you Brittany! I also liked your idea and replied to it previously - best of luck!

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