Enabling continuous monitoring of how our bodies change with age can significantly enhance our understanding of how many chronic illnesses progress and provide new opportunities for novel preventative treatments. However, even the state-of-the-art implantable biosensors currently have a limited lifetime of <14 days largely due to the body?s immune response, which continuously fouls the sensor surface. This CAREER project is aimed on creating a new class of implantable biosensors that can self-clear its sensing elements to allow truly longitudinal monitoring of various biomarkers for chronic neurodegenerative diseases. By utilizing a combination of active and passive anti-biofouling measures on printable biosensors, this work aims to improve the functional lifetime of these implantable biochemical sensors by an order of magnitude. Post-doctoral, graduate and undergraduate students working on this truly multidisciplinary project will receive a world-class training in biosensor development and learn fundamental skills in microfabrication, electrochemistry, and biosensor physics. The proposed research will also lead to complementary educational and outreach activities as a part the CAREER project. For example, in collaboration with the nationally recognized Purdue Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS), this program will increase adolescent (K?8) awareness of biomedical research within the context of the future medical devices using game-based learning.
Biofouling is a significant challenge in the development of chronically reliable implantable biosensors. To minimize the immunogenic biofouling, various biomaterials have already been explored. However, most passive anti-biofouling approaches can only delay, not eliminate biofouling to extend the lifetime of these implantable biosensors. Building upon successful preliminary studies using active anti-biofouling magnetic microactuators and nanocomposite-based electrochemical biosensors, this CAREER proposal seeks to develop self-clearing biosensors that can be implanted for months and potentially years by passively preventing biofilm formation and actively clearing biofilm from the sensor surface. This novel microscale sensing platform will serve as the launchpad for a new class of implantable biosensors that can enable truly longitudinal in vivo monitoring of multiple analytes over the lifetime of patients. Using a combination of in vitro and in vivo models, the proposed research seeks to evaluate the chronic functional efficacy of this self-clearing biosensing platform to measure changes in glutamate, a key inflammatory biomarker in the brain that is linked to a number of neurodegenerative disorders. The results of this proposal will significantly advance our understanding on the limits of implantable microscale biosensors towards personalized continuous monitoring of chronic illnesses. Furthermore, the knowledge gained from this work will support the PI?s educational objectives to improve STEM pipeline for multidisciplinary biomedical engineering research by increasing the awareness of implantable microdevices in K-8 students and early career engineering students.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.