Project/blog link:Electric Bloodhound: Programming Brain Cells to Smell BASIS Advisor: Marguerite Ellis Internship location: United States Military Academy Bartlett Hall 440-C Onsite Mentor: Luis Alvarez, Academy Professor in the department of Chemistry and Life Sciences
Biomedical engineering is currently one of the fastest-growing fields in all of STEM; the potential to utilize natural processes to engineer solutions to real-world problems is very promising and exciting. One example is the field of biosensors, which use living organisms to capture data that may be difficult to detect using traditional circuit-based sensors. My project attempts to develop one such sensor, particularly one that possesses the ability to detect volatile substances with high sensitivity and specificity. This sensor has been tentatively dubbed “eNOSE” and will monitor and characterize physiological responses from specially-designed mammalian cells in order to identify odorants. My role is to assist the researchers at the United States Military Academy within the University of Arizona who are attempting to utilize the biology behind this vision. Should this technology come to fruition as a result of this research, the applications are varied and substantial, ranging from concealed explosives detection to disease screening. Ideally, my efforts will help show that the bio-engineering required to produce a device like this is feasible, and eNOSE can be “scent” out into the world.