Electrical and Electronic Engineering - Research Publications

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    Design and Optimisation of Elliptical-Shaped Planar Hall Sensor for Biomedical Applications
    Uddin, SM ; Sayad, A ; Chan, J ; Skafidas, E ; Kwan, P (MDPI, 2022-02-01)
    The magnetic beads detection-based immunoassay, also called magneto-immunoassay, has potential applications in point-of-care testing (POCT) due to its unique advantage of minimal background interference from the biological sample and associated reagents. While magnetic field detection technologies are well established for numerous applications in the military, as well as in geology, archaeology, mining, spacecraft, and mobile phones, adaptation into magneto-immunoassay is yet to be explored. The magnetic field biosensors under development tend to be multilayered and require an expensive fabrication process. A low-cost and affordable biosensing platform is required for an effective point-of-care diagnosis in a resource-limited environment. Therefore, we evaluated a single-layered magnetic biosensor in this study to overcome this limitation. The shape-induced magnetic anisotropy-based planar hall effect sensor was recently developed to detect a low-level magnetic field, but was not explored for medical application. In this study, the elliptical-shaped planar hall effect (EPHE) sensor was designed, fabricated, characterized, and optimized for the magneto-immunoassay, specifically. Nine sensor variants were designed and fabricated. A customized measurement setup incorporating a lock-in amplifier was used to quantify 4.5 µm magnetic beads in a droplet. The result indicated that the single-domain behaviour of the magnetic film and larger sensing area with a thinner magnetic film had the highest sensitivity. The developed sensor was tested with a range of magnetic bead concentrations, demonstrating a limit of detection of 200 beads/μL. The sensor performance encourages employing magneto-immunoassay towards developing a low-cost POCT device in the future.
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    Letter: improved parsimony of genetic risk scores for coeliac disease through refined HLA modelling
    Erlichster, M ; Bedo, J ; Skafidas, E ; Kwan, P ; Kowalczyk, A ; Goudey, B (WILEY, 2021-03-01)
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    Meander Thin-Film Biosensor Fabrication to Investigate the Influence of Structural Parameters on the Magneto-Impedance Effect
    Sayad, A ; Uddin, SM ; Chan, J ; Skafidas, E ; Kwan, P (MDPI, 2021-10-01)
    Thin-film magneto-impedance (MI) biosensors have attracted significant attention due to their high sensitivity and easy miniaturization. However, further improvement is required to detect weak biomagnetic signals. Here, we report a meander thin-film biosensor preparation to investigate the fabrication parameters influencing the MI effect. Specifically, we hypothesized that an optimal film thickness and sensing area size ratio could be achieved to obtain a maximum MI ratio. A meander multilayer MI biosensor based on a NiFe/Cu/NiFe thin-film was designed and fabricated into 3-, 6-, and 9-turn models with film thicknesses of 3 µm and 6 µm. The 9-turn biosensor resembled the largest sensing area, while the 3- and 6-turn biosensors were designed with identical sensing areas. The results indicated that the NiFe film thickness of 6 µm with a sensing area size of 14.4 mm2 resembling a 9-turn MI biosensor is the optimal ratio yielding the maximum MI ratio of 238%, which is 70% larger than the 3- and 6-turn structures. The 3- and 6-turn MI biosensors exhibited similar characteristics where the MI ratio peaked at a similar value. Our results suggest that the MI ratio can be increased by increasing the sensing area size and film thickness rather than the number of turns. We showed that an optimal film thickness to sensing area size ratio is required to obtain a high MI ratio. Our findings will be useful for designing highly sensitive MI biosensors capable of detecting low biomagnetic signals.
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    Heater Integrated Lab-on-a-Chip Device for Rapid HLA Alleles Amplification towards Prevention of Drug Hypersensitivity
    Uddin, SM ; Sayad, A ; Chan, J ; Huynh, DH ; Skafidas, E ; Kwan, P (MDPI, 2021-05-01)
    HLA-B*15:02 screening before administering carbamazepine is recommended to prevent life-threatening hypersensitivity. However, the unavailability of a point-of-care device impedes this screening process. Our research group previously developed a two-step HLA-B*15:02 detection technique utilizing loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) on the tube, which requires two-stage device development to translate into a portable platform. Here, we report a heater-integrated lab-on-a-chip device for the LAMP amplification, which can rapidly detect HLA-B alleles colorimetrically. A gold-patterned micro-sized heater was integrated into a 3D-printed chip, allowing microfluidic pumping, valving, and incubation. The performance of the chip was tested with color dye. Then LAMP assay was conducted with human genomic DNA samples of known HLA-B genotypes in the LAMP-chip parallel with the tube assay. The LAMP-on-chip results showed a complete match with the LAMP-on-tube assay, demonstrating the detection system's concurrence.
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    A Label-Free, Quantitative Fecal Hemoglobin Detection Platform for Colorectal Cancer Screening
    Soraya, GV ; Nguyen, TC ; Abeyrathne, CD ; Huynh, DH ; Chan, J ; Nguyen, PD ; Nasr, B ; Chana, G ; Kwan, P ; Skafidas, E (MDPI, 2017-06-01)
    The early detection of colorectal cancer is vital for disease management and patient survival. Fecal hemoglobin detection is a widely-adopted method for screening and early diagnosis. Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) is favored over the older generation chemical based Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) as it does not require dietary or drug restrictions, and is specific to human blood from the lower digestive tract. To date, no quantitative FIT platforms are available for use in the point-of-care setting. Here, we report proof of principle data of a novel low cost quantitative fecal immunochemical-based biosensor platform that may be further developed into a point-of-care test in low-resource settings. The label-free prototype has a lower limit of detection (LOD) of 10 µg hemoglobin per gram (Hb/g) of feces, comparable to that of conventional laboratory based quantitative FIT diagnostic systems.
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    Magneto-Impedance Biosensor Sensitivity: Effect and Enhancement
    Sayad, A ; Skafidas, E ; Kwan, P (MDPI, 2020-09-01)
    Biosensors based on magneto-impedance (MI) effect are powerful tools for biomedical applications as they are highly sensitive, stable, exhibit fast response, small in size, and have low hysteresis and power consumption. However, the performance of these biosensors is influenced by a variety of factors, including the design, geometry, materials and fabrication procedures. Other less appreciated factors influencing the MI effect include measuring circuit implementation, the material used for construction, geometry of the thin film sensing element, and patterning shapes compatible with the interface microelectronic circuitry. The type magnetic (ferrofluid, Dynabeads, and nanoparticles) and size of the particles, the magnetic particle concentration, magnetic field strength and stray magnetic fields can also affect the sensor sensitivity. Based on these considerations it is proposed that ideal MI biosensor sensitivity could be achieved when the sensor is constructed in sandwich thick magnetic layers with large sensing area in a meander shape, measured with circuitry that provides the lowest possible external inductance at high frequencies, enclosed by a protective layer between magnetic particles and sensing element, and perpendicularly magnetized when detecting high-concentration of magnetic particles.
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    Ultrasensitive and label-free biosensor for the detection of Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein II in saliva.
    Soraya, GV ; Abeyrathne, CD ; Buffet, C ; Huynh, DH ; Uddin, SM ; Chan, J ; Skafidas, E ; Kwan, P ; Rogerson, SJ (Nature Publishing Group, 2019-11-25)
    Malaria elimination is a global public health priority. To fulfil the demands of elimination diagnostics, we have developed an interdigitated electrode sensor platform targeting the Plasmodium falciparum Histidine Rich Protein 2 (PfHRP2) protein in saliva samples. A protocol for frequency-specific PfHRP2 detection in phosphate buffered saline was developed, yielding a sensitivity of 2.5 pg/mL based on change in impedance magnitude of the sensor. This protocol was adapted and optimized for use in saliva with a sensitivity of 25 pg/mL based on change in resistance. Further validation demonstrated detection in saliva spiked with PfHRP2 from clinical isolates in 8 of 11 samples. With a turnaround time of ~2 hours, the label-free platform based on impedance sensors has the potential for miniaturization into a point-of-care diagnostic device for malaria elimination.
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    Rapid Detection of HLA-B*57:01-Expressing Cells Using a Label-Free Interdigitated Electrode Biosensor Platform for Prevention of Abacavir Hypersensitivity in HIV Treatment
    Chan, J ; Soraya, GV ; Craig, L ; Uddin, SM ; Todaro, M ; Huynh, DH ; Abeyrathne, CD ; Kostenko, L ; McCluskey, J ; Skafidas, E ; Kwan, P (MDPI AG, 2019-08-20)
    Pre-treatment screening of individuals for human leukocyte antigens (HLA) HLA-B*57:01 is recommended for the prevention of life-threatening hypersensitivity reactions to abacavir, a drug widely prescribed for HIV treatment. However, the implementation of screening in clinical practice is hindered by the slow turnaround time and high cost of conventional HLA genotyping methods. We have developed a biosensor platform using interdigitated electrode (IDE) functionalized with a monoclonal antibody to detect cells expressing HLA-B*57:01. This platform was evaluated using cell lines and peripheral blood mononuclear cells expressing different HLA-B alleles. The functionalized IDE sensor was able to specifically capture HLA-B*57:01 cells, resulting in a significant change in the impedance magnitude in 20 min. This IDE platform has the potential to be further developed to enable point-of-care HLA-B*57:01 screening
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    Development of an Ultrasensitive Impedimetric Immunosensor Platform for Detection of Plasmodium Lactate Dehydrogenase
    Low, YK ; Chan, J ; Soraya, GV ; Buffet, C ; Abeyrathne, CD ; Huynh, DH ; Skafidas, E ; Kwan, P ; Rogerson, SJ (MDPI, 2019-06-01)
    Elimination of malaria is a global health priority. Detecting an asymptomatic carrier of Plasmodium parasites to receive treatment is an important step in achieving this goal. Current available tools for detection of malaria parasites are either expensive, lacking in sensitivity for asymptomatic carriers, or low in throughput. We investigated the sensitivity of an impedimetric biosensor targeting the malaria biomarker Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH). Following optimization of the detection protocol, sensor performance was tested using phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), and then saliva samples spiked with pLDH at various concentrations. The presence of pLDH was determined by analyzing the sensor electrical properties before and after sample application. Through comparing percentage changes in impedance magnitude, the sensors distinguished pLDH-spiked PBS from non-spiked PBS at concentrations as low as 250 pg/mL (p = 0.0008). Percentage changes in impedance magnitude from saliva spiked with 2.5 ng/mL pLDH trended higher than those from non-spiked saliva. These results suggest that these biosensors have the potential to detect concentrations of pLDH up to two logs lower than currently available best-practice diagnostic tools. Successful optimization of this sensor platform would enable more efficient diagnosis of asymptomatic carriers, who can be targeted for treatment, contributing to the elimination of malaria.