Optical BioMEMS Microfluidic Technologies for Hand-Held, Point-of-Care, Medical Devices

By James Leary

Purdue University

Published on


Portable, point-of-care, medical diagnostic devices could provide an important new component in more cost-effective healthcare delivery. Rapid measurements of blood samples during an examination within a doctor’s office or in the field, could allow immediate appropriate treatment of medical conditions. Two applications based on microfabricated BioMEMS devices being designed and built in Discovery Park at Purdue will be discussed.

The first is a battery-powered, lightweight, portable, high-speed optical BioMEMS microfluidic cytometer for rapid blood analysis using microfabricated PDMS disposable microfluidic optical biochips, superluminescent (sLED’s), and avalanche photodiodes (APDs), with embedded algorithms in digital signal processing (DSP) chips. This device is being used to provide a complete red blood cell and white blood cell analysis from a single drop of blood. It was recently funded by NASA in a Phase II proposal for flight-ready status for the space shuttle and international space station. A terrestrial application being developed is for pediatric blood analysis from a drop of blood, especially for the diagnosis of blood and immune disorders in newborns.

The second BioMEMS application is a hybrid surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and fluorescence imaging device with microfluidic sampling and capture of microbial pathogens on antibody or peptide coated microfabricated arrays for multiplex assays of pathogens. One practical application is in the area of detection of food-borne pathogens. A second application under development is rapid, point-of-care diagnosis of microbes in nose and throat for appropriate selection of antibiotic treatment in doctors’ offices.


James F. LearyProfessor Leary has an S.B degree in aerospace engineering from M.I.T and a Ph.D. in Biophysics from Penn State University. After faculty positions at the University of Rochester Medical School and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, he moved to Purdue on July 1, 2005 and became the SVM (School of Veterinary Medicine) Endowed Professor of Nanomedicine and a tenured full professor in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. Recently he was elected a Fellow of the AIMBE (American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering), the highest honorary for biomedical engineers in the United States, for his pioneering work in the invention of high-speed flow cytometry and rare-event analysis as well as his more recent work in the design of bionanomedical systems and portable BioMEMS devices.

Sponsored by

Mechanical Engineering Graduate Seminar

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • James Leary (2009), "Optical BioMEMS Microfluidic Technologies for Hand-Held, Point-of-Care, Medical Devices," http://nanohub.org/resources/7873.

    BibTex | EndNote



Mechanical Engineering Building, RM 161, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN