454451 Bio-Electronic Devices for Healthcare: From Wearable Biosensors to Nanorobots

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Continental 4 & 5 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Wei Gao, EECS, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Research Interests: Wearable Devices, Flexible Electronics, Nanomaterials, Nanomachines, Nanorobotics, Biosensors, Nanomedicine, Nanomotors.

Wearable biosensors are essential to the realization of personalized medicine through continuously monitoring an individual’s state of health. Human sweat, which is rich in physiological information, is an excellent candidate for non-invasive monitoring. Given the complexity of sweat secretion, simultaneous and multiplexed screening of sweat biomarkers is critical. I have developed a mechanically flexible and fully-integrated sensor array for multiplexed in-situ perspiration analysis, which simultaneously and selectively measures sweat metabolites and electrolytes, as well as the skin temperature (to compensate other sensors’ readings) (Gao et al. Nature, 2016, 529, 509-514). The platform is the first ever demonstration of a complete system for accurate sweat analysis which merged skin-conforming plastic-based sensors and conventional integrated-circuit components at an unprecedented level of integration, not only to measure the output of multiplexed and selective sensors, but also to obtain an accurate assessment via signal processing of the physiological state of the human subjects. This wearable system has been used to measure the detailed sweat profile of human subjects engaged in prolonged indoor and outdoor physical activities. Currently I have greatly expanded the scope of platform to monitor a wide panel of analytes including heavy metals, peptides and proteins. I envision that wearable sweat biosensors can be used for diverse clinical and physiological applications (e.g.monitoring pre-diabetes, dehydration, heavy metal poisoning, and major depressive disorder).

While wearable devices play an important role in health monitoring on the skin, nanorobots offer great promise to efficiently deliver drug payloads and perform precision diagnosis/surgery inside human body. The nanoscale propulsion is challenging due to low Reynolds fluids. I have invented the first fully biocompatible and biodegradable nanorobots that can move autonomously in human biofluids based on Zn or Mg micromotors. I have also demonstrated the first in vivo study of synthetic nanorobots in living mice. The acid-driven propulsion effectively enhances the delivery of cargo payloads onto the stomach wall. In addition, I pioneered a variety of artificial nanomachines that can achieve nanoscale propulsion. After modification with different functional groups or bio-receptors, these nanorobots are able to selectively transport and isolate specific targets (such as protein, DNA, bacteria and cancer cells). These works are anticipated to significantly advance the emerging field of nanomachines and to open the door to in vivoevaluation and clinical applications of the synthetic nanorobots.

Teaching Interests: I am interested in teaching most of the the major courses for Chemical Engineering, especially Heat and Mass Transfer, Fluids Dynamics, and Thermodynamics, Separation Process. I am also interested in other courses including Electrochemistry, Nanotechnology and Nanoengineering, Nanomedicine.

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