Automated Point-of-Care Pancreatic Cancer Diagnostic

Detected pancreatic cancer cell derived exosomes from human serum at concentrations modeling precancerous stages by developing an automated, microfluidics based point-of-care diagnostic device. Created automated, cost-effective, on-chip serum processing and diagnosis protocol involving 3D printed encasingdesigned using SolidWorks, Arduino based microcontroller, and image processing using MATLAB.

Bioengineering Senior Design Award
1st Honorable Mention - SEAS Senior Design Competition

Senior Design Competition Presentation Video


Point of care diagnostics still require significant manual pre-processing with expensive, non-portable equipment. To make point of care diagnostics a reality, complete sample processing needs to take place on-chip at the patient bedside.


The device brings diagnosis to the point of care: a physician injects a patient blood sample into our PDMS chip (which uses a size-based filter as a centrifuge substitute), and the sample is automatically processed to generate a diagnosis. The iPhone app videos and analyzes the fluorescence of tagged molecules to provide a diagnosis.

Sample Processing

The automation involves arduino-programming to control a servo motor to rotate a series of syringes to dispense reagents on a timed basis, a solenoid to push a needle to puncture parafilm used to hold the reagents in the syringes via negative pressure for reagent dispensing, and a pump to remove fluids after each incubation period. This processes enables GPC1 positive exosomes to be tagged with fluorescent antibodies, enabling them to be imaged by the iPhone.

Device Design

The CAD model was designed in SolidWorks and 3D printed. The syringes were sealed with parafilm to create a vaccum in the tube to hold the liquid until the film is punctured by the needle attached to the solenoid. The syringes are held in a rotating disk which positions the appropriate reagent at the necessary time, as controlled by the microcontroller.

Senior Design Compeition Presentation