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Wearable Sensor for Multiplexed Detection of Ca2+, Uric Acid, and Interleukin-6 in Sweat

Grant number: 23/07812-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): May 02, 2024
Effective date (End): May 01, 2025
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Physics
Principal Investigator:Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior
Grantee:Rafael Cintra Hensel Ferreira
Supervisor: Manuel Del Valle Zafra
Host Institution: Instituto de Física de São Carlos (IFSC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Spain  
Associated to the scholarship:20/15095-0 - Biosensors made with polymer films incorporating metallic nanoparticles for clinical diagnosis, BP.PD


In recent years, printable electronics have triggered a significant advancement in wearable technology within the realms of health monitoring and diagnostics. In this context, wearable sensors can offer noninvasive, uninterrupted, and real-time assessment of physiological processes. To illustrate this, it can be mentioned the surge of efforts in wearable electronic devices designed to precisely measure vital signs like heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. In addition, as these sensors maintain direct contact with the biofluids, e.g.,sweat, they offer the potential of personalized healthcare, with the capability to simultaneously and seamlessly detect numerous biomarkers in sweat. This project intends a research internship at the Autonomous University of Barcelona to develop flexible sensors for the multiplexed detection of biomarkers present in sweat, including calcium (Ca2+), uric acid (AU), and/or interleukin-6 (IL-6). In terms of biochemical functions, Ca2+ plays a significant role in myeloma, cirrhosis, renal failure, and disorders related to acid-base balance. On the other hand, UA is associated with renal dysfunction and the development of gout. Additionally, IL-6 serves as an indicator of insulin activity and immune responses in the context of cancer therapy. Here, we will exploit state-of-the-art technologies to build up flexible electrical and/or electrochemical devices. Moreover, the choice of biomarkers will provide the fellow the possibility to handle diverse specific recognition elements: (i) to detect Ca2+ one can exploit potentiometric ion-selective membranes; (ii) UA will be evaluated amperometrically according to its oxidation potential of 0.21 V vs. Ag/AgCl; (iii) IL-6 will require specific binding aptamers. We expect to achieve versatile devices that could be adaptable to detect other relevant biomarkers in sweat. Furthermore, after returning to Brazil, the fellow will exploit such flexible platforms on immunosensors to detect cancer biomarkers and/or viral infections, contributing to early diagnosis, which agrees with his research activities in Brazil. Therefore, the interdisciplinary nature of this project combines materials science, nanotechnology, and biomedicine to create a cutting-edge sensor with broad implications for preventive healthcare and disease management for both individuals and professionals.

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