McDevitt Research Group: Mission


McDevitt Labs Sensor Technology Mission

The McDevitt research group has made a strong commitment to the development of the science and engineering bases that will enable the creation of an infrastructure that will enable more efficient testing of a variety of analyte classes of societal importance. Our mission is translational research and our main goal is to make these high performance sensor systems broadly and readily accessible and affordable for the good of humankind worldwide, including resource poor settings that usually gain access to technologies decades after they become obsolete. We have targeted global solutions with strong considerations for both resource poor and developed country settings. Likewise, we have made a commitment above and beyond that which is normally associated with academic research.

Traditionally, medical devices require three to five years in development time at the cost of $20 to $60 million to develop a single product with analysis capabilities dedicated to one analyte. Our bio-nano-chip approach provides a platform methodology whereby a common core can be adapted to new application areas quickly and efficiently. Efforts are now underway to integrate all elements of sample collection, fluid handling, sample separation, reagent deployment, analyte detection and waste storage. The science and engineering bases that enable the development of the next generation of multiplexed sensors spanning numerous analyte classes will be the focus of activities in this area. These pioneering efforts in the area of bio-nano-chip have been featured recently in Business Week for the cover story on Nanotechnology developments.

Despite significant advances in the development of miniaturized sensing and analytical devices for use in clinical and biomedical applications, the ability to interface individual components to achieve a high level of integration continues to pose a challenge for the scientific community as a whole. Even more difficult is the prospect of creating a modular standard "microfluidic tool kit" that can be adapted in a simple and rapid manner to new applications and new assays as needed. To be useful here the components must be scalable and suitable for integration into modular tests units. Towards this goal, the McDevitt laboratory is working actively to develop and refine a number of miniaturized sensor concepts and methodologies that are suitable for a variety of important application areas.