Stephen Chou of Princeton University in the U.S. will further develop a simple and inexpensive assay for diagnosing fetal brain injury using smartphones to detect biomarkers from a drop of blood that can be used by untrained individuals. Biomarkers of brain function have been identified, but technological limitations mean their detection requires expensive assays and trained professionals. They have developed special nanostructures known as D2PA (disk-coupled dots-on-pillar antenna- array) to enhance the fluorescence emitted on a small assay plate by over one million fold thereby substantially increasing sensitivity. The plate can then be photographed with a smartphone and the result sent to a doctor. They will develop and test the assay for accurately and rapidly detecting several biomarkers in single drops of blood.
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