This application seeks to transform the current paradigm for blood metal analysis through the development of a sensor that will provide rapid and accurate point-of-care measurement of blood metals in susceptible pediatric populations. Biomarkers of pediatric, low-level, mixed exposures to lead (Pb), manganese (Mn), and cadmium (Cd) are essential. There is a clear need for improved technology to quantitatively assess and identify adverse consequences of these exposures. Current approaches suffer from high costs including extensive labor, equipment and time-consuming laboratory procedures, and often demonstrate long turnaround times. This project addresses this need by developing a novel sensor technology for simultaneous and swift measurement of heavy metals in whole blood. Our approach is to integrate anodic stripping voltammetry with our deep expertise in lab-on-a-chip and microfluidics. Our multidisciplinary team of engineers, chemists, and clinical/environmental health experts has already taken the first steps towards developing such a device and has demonstrated feasibility of the sensor through pilot tests. We are now poised to fully develop the sensor system for point-of-care application. This project will be the first to develop an environmentally-friendly lab-on- a-chip sensor for point-of-care multi-metal analysis, which will provide real-time analysis of metals for susceptible populations, in national and international research and clinical settings. Collaboration with our commercialization partner will position the multi-metal sensor for wide-spread use in clinical and research settings.

Public Health Relevance

This application seeks to develop a laboratory-in-a-chip sensor for rapid and accurate point-of-care measurement of multiple metals (manganese, lead, and cadmium) in blood. Whole blood analysis is the most common method for determining metal exposure and assessment of health outcomes, yet multi-metal analysis and sample collection from children are highly problematic. The uniqueness of this study is the environmentally-friendly nature of the sensor, child-friendly requirement of only drops of blood per analysis, ability to conduct multiple blood measurements on site (point-of-care), and potential use in occupational and international research settings.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Research Project (R01)
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Enabling Bioanalytical and Imaging Technologies Study Section (EBIT)
Program Officer
Balshaw, David M
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University of Cincinnati
Schools of Engineering
United States
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