Point-of-Need Microfluidic Biosensor for Detecting Airborne Viruses using Molecularly Imprinted Polymers: Towards COVID 19 Virus Monitoring

Rezai, Pouya | $50,000

Ontario York University 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

This project is a partnership between York University, Centre Technologique des Residus Industriels (CTRI), and Sixth Wave Innovation Inc. (SIXW). The goal of this partnership is to develop components of a portable and low-cost technology for rapid and on-site air sampling and detection of aerosol and droplet-encapsulated viruses in indoor and outdoor environments.

Virus capturing will be done by Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) under the extensive expertise of the partner company, SIXW. MIPs are robust materials with pre-made nano-cavities that can capture target objects such as viruses in this project. For this, MIP-based microparticles for bulk conjugation and nanoparticles for electrode coating and surface immobilization of viruses will be designed and optimized. MIP microparticle-virus conjugates will be sorted and separated passively in portable microfluidic devices. Finally, on-chip virus capturing, tagging with detection labels. and quantitative detection will be performed calorimetrically using cellphone imaging and image processing.

This project will result in innovative scientific research, mobilization of research from conception to proof of concept stage, and lab-scale development and integration of sample preparation and virus detection devices. These integrated sample preparation and detection systems will be portable, easy to operate, and sensitive for future use by inspectors, businesses, hospitals, special care centers, and police force involved in decision-making to address various challenges associated with airborne pathogen outbreaks and pandemics. One postdoctoral fellow and two graduate students will be trained in this project and participate in scientific publications and generation of intellectual property in Canada.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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