All Thayer Events

Jones Seminar: Miniaturized Biosensors for Healthcare



3:30pm - 4:30pm ET

Spanos Auditorium, Cummings Hall

Optional ZOOM LINK
Meeting ID: 979 9693 7196
Passcode: 209277

Miniaturized biosensors that can measure ions and biomolecules in real time with high sensitivity and resolution have the potential to bring about transformative advances in healthcare. This talk focuses on electronic biosensing devices for continuous monitoring and early diagnostic applications. Recently, we proposed and demonstrated biosensors with novel transducer device and reference electrode components. These innovations resulted in significant improvements in sensitivity and resolution, in comparison to literature data. Furthermore, the proposed sensors have an inherently simpler one-point calibration procedure, and therefore are a superior option for mobile applications such as wearables, where continuous monitoring is required with minimal human intervention. Unlike existing biosensors, these new sensors can continuously measure analytes from both aqueous solutions and solid mediums (e.g., tissue, slurries) over extended time periods, and are well suited for implantable and ingestible sensing applications. Results for these new BJT sensors and examples of their applications will be discussed.

Measurement of biomolecules at ultra-low concentrations is another important sensing area for applications in early disease diagnosis. For over a decade, nanowire field effect transistor (FET) sensors have been extensively investigated for this application. Despite their promise, there has been limited success in commercializing them. In this talk, results for highly optimized silicon nanowire FET biosensors will be presented. These optimized biosensors are shown to address nanofabrication issues that have hindered their commercial applications. Challenges associated with nanofabrication and sensing surface functionalization, and approaches for resolving them will be discussed. This research has been successfully licensed to a medical diagnostic company (NanoDx Inc.) for commercialization rights.

Lastly, applications of these biosensors to other areas such as sustainable agriculture will be discussed. The presentation is concluded with a discussion on challenges and opportunities related to biosensor research.

About the Speaker(s)

Sufi Zafar
Staff Member, IBM TJ Watson Research Center

Sufi Zafar has been a research staff member at IBM TJ Watson Research Center in NY since 2001. She is a physicist with extensive cross-disciplinary research experience in miniaturized biosensing devices, modeling of proteins, charge transport and defect creation mechanisms in nanoscale CMOS devices and nanofabrication. Sufi initiated and leads a biosensing project with the goal of demonstrating electronic biosensing devices that would push the frontiers of knowledge with applications in healthcare and IoT. Sufi’s research efforts have resulted in biosensor technology transfer for commercialization, 79 journal publications, 88 granted patents, invited talks and invitations to serve on technical committees. She has received several prestigious awards and honors, served on various diversity committees and extensively mentored women engineers, new hires, graduate and undergraduate students.


For more information, contact Ashley Parker at