Bioanalytical Technologies

A singular focus

For years we have been analyzing bulk populations of cells. While this is still critical work, we’re now in an age of single cell analysis.

Single cell technologies, such as microfluidics and mass spectrometry, are more sophisticated and provide a more comprehensive picture of a cell.

Why is this important to Hoosiers? It means diagnosing diseases faster and more accurately, moving to treatment quicker and improving health outcomes. 

2019 highlights

Michael Pugia, PhD, is leading the Bioanalytical Technologies group in the development of state-of-the-art technology platforms and methods to support the IBRI’s development of new standards of patient care and therapeutics.

  • Two completed technologies—BioMEMs Point of Care (POC) Analyzer and SIERRA Reagent—in record time
  • One SIERRA paper published by two staff members
  • Single cell analytics center objective met
  • Four students completed their work here, graduated and found jobs

Technologies complete in record time

In 2016, when the Single Cell Analytics Center was organized, its mission was to develop technologies that would diagnose diseases efficiently, quickly and accurately. The center set a goal to accomplish this in five years, which at that point was ambitious.

Fast forward to 2019: The center achieved its goal two years ahead of schedule. Under the leadership of Director Michael Pugia, PhD, the center completed BioMEMs and SIERRA.

SIERRA reagent

SIERRA is the Signal Ion Emission Reactive Release Amplification platform that helps diagnose infections and other diseases from a single cell. The research to show SIERRA’s effectiveness for identifying rare cells in whole blood was published in Analytical Chemistry by team members Zane Baird, PhD, and Zehui Cao, PhD, with assistance from Anna Geisinger.

This project also had support from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana University School of Medicine and the State of Indiana.

BioMEMs Point of Care (POC) analyzer

BioMEMs is a biological microelectromechanical system that uses micro-sized components to reduce cost and improve sensitivity of diagnostic tests. For this project, we collaborated with Steven Wereley, PhD, at Purdue University and submitted research to Lab on a Chip about this new POC system. We also partnered with Frédérique T. Deiss, PhD, at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to submit an electrochemistry paper to Analytical Chemistry that demonstrated culture-free bacterial detection in clinical samples.

Now that SIERRA and BioMEMs are complete, we evolved the Single Cell Analytics Center into the Bioanalytical Technologies group that is still being led by Pugia and his team that includes Geisinger and Dylan Frabutt, PhD.

“Our work in single cell technologies is leading to diagnosing diseases faster and more accurately, moving to treatment quicker and improving health outcomes.”

—Bioanalytical Technologies Director Michael Pugia, PhD

Bright future ahead

As we look to the horizon things look bright for the Bioanalytical Technologies group.

We already are members of and partners with the Center for Bioanalytic Metrology (CBM), which is a partnership between Indiana University, Purdue University and Notre Dame University that is funded by the National Science Foundation. The CBM seeks to solve current, emerging, and industry-relevant problems and create new capabilities in measurement science.

While we are working on other bioanalytical technologies, like what we did with SIERRA and BioMEMs, we also continue to support the work of IBRI diabetes research. For example:

  • We published research that showed whether mice developed diabetes.
  • We’ve submitted a paper featuring research that shows the ability to predict the risk of death from cardiovascular or kidney disease in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
  • We published a novel new lipodomic bioanalytic method for detecting resistant bacteria with Professor Graham Cooks of Purdue University in Analytical Chemistry and have been applying this to diabetic wound analysis with Professor Chandan Sen of the Indiana University School of Medicine.

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