Sept. 22, 2015 Eureka Alert! Gisele Galoustian
Florida Atlantic University receives NSF grant
A researcher from Florida Atlantic University has come up with a unique way to monitor sickle cell disease — a serious blood disorder — using a smart phone. With a $166,935 grant from the National Science Foundation, E. (Sarah) Du, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering in FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, and principal investigator, will develop a portable smart sensor and a phone application for patients to analyze and store the results of their blood tests on a smart phone. This technology will enable them to keep a close watch on any abnormal activities in their blood cells and take important steps to manage this disease with early intervention.
Sickle cell disease is a hereditary blood disorder that affects red blood cells, distorting their natural disc shape into a crescent moon or “sickle” shape. Normal red blood cells move freely through small vessels throughout the body to deliver oxygen. With sickle cell disease, the misshapen red blood cells become hard and sticky, making it difficult for them to move through blood vessels. They eventually block the flow and break apart. This process results in a number of problems including severe chronic pain, stroke, organ damage, spleen dysfunction, heart failure and even death.
“A major challenge in the management of sickle cell disease is the tremendous pain that patients endure from chronic and acute pain episodes called pain crisis,” said Du. “Unfortunately, these pain episodes are unpredictable and patients never know when or where these episodes will take place.”
Integrating microfluidics with communication technologies like a smart phone, Du and her collaborators will create a disposable testing platform much like a […]