Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"exhaled breath condensates for detection of stress and early-stage disease"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Summer 2017 - DURI
Research area(s):
sensors, thin-film engineering, chemistry
Project Description:
Patients and health workers lack simple, readily available, and cost-efficient methods for self-testing of stress, fatigue, or disease. However, many molecular markers of these symptoms can be found in exhaled breath. We have initiated a project for developing low-cost, disposable sensors that can detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released from breath or skin during respiration. Carbon nanomaterials will be coated as thin films on disposable substrates and sprayed with sensor molecules that can differentiate one or more VOCs for specific detection, using an electrochemical (impedimetric) approach.
Expected Student Contributions:
Summer interns learn the basics of chemical detection, using simple electronics. Work elements include preparation and handling of solutions and gas mixtures, fabrication of carbon-coated thin films, electrospray deposition of sensor molecules, and analysis and interpretation of impedimetric signals. Students also learn how to design control experiments to establish the range and scope of signal generation and signal specificity.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
At least one year of experience in a chemistry or engineering lab course (preferably both). Excellent communication and time management skills (will need to demonstrate evidence in an interview setting). Prior research experience is a plus. Safety training will need to be arranged in advance prior to start of internship.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?

Professor in Charge

Wei, Alexander

Student Supervisor

Alexander Wei

Cooperating Faculty

Lia Stanciu
Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering