UB part of team awarded $1.1 million for biomedical research

The University of Bridgeport has received $100,000 to advance work in the field of graphene blood mapping as part of a $1.1 million research effort led by Connecticut Analytical Corporation (CAC), university officials announced today.

Funding for the two-year project was awarded to CAC, the lead investigator in the project, by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Research will be conducted at the laboratory of Dr. Prabir Patra, who is a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering at UB, and by researchers at Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Case Western Reserve University.

Additional funding will be available from DARPA when the first two-year phase of research is complete.

The research, known formally as “Improved Dried Biological Specimen Recovery and Processing for Diagnostics,” is aimed at developing innovative methods, materials, and devices to improve the improved collection, storage, material recovery and processing of dried biological specimens—such as dried blood, urine, or saliva—for different diagnostics. Samples of dried blood, for instance, can be used to develop drugs, in therapeutic drug monitoring, or in newborn screenings.

Work at UB will focus specifically on the development of graphene-protein nanostructures to prepare their appropriate assemblies for electrospraying and electrospinning—techniques that use electricity to create droplets and ultrathin fibers from liquids—and their use in various diagnostic devices.

“Graphene is such a unique allotrope of carbon with atomically thin 2-D structure that strips proteins from the blood specimen very efficiently, and there lies the opportunity of using the electrospray technique using graphene,” said Patra.

Joe Bango, the CEO of CAC, added: “Because of the ease of collection and storage offered by dried biological fluids, there is an increased interest in improving the types of diagnostic tests that can be carried out using these minimally invasive samples.”
Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625, lgeary@bridgeport.edu