NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The New Jersey Health Foundation has awarded a $50,000 Innovation Grant to Eon Soo Lee, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, to advance the development of a microfluidic chip that provides instant diagnostic results, advancing earlier detection and diagnosis for patients.
If successful, the biochip will expedite the diagnosis of many diseases, including viral infections and cancers.
“We are interested in Dr. Lee’s project because the biochip he is developing would provide instant results at a local office or point of care without needing sample preparation,” said Dr. George Heinrich, vice chairman and CEO of NJHF, in a statement.
The biochip will also reduce the possibility of sample contamination by minimizing the need for flow control devices and connecting tubes.
Heinrich said doctors currently rely on diagnostic devices that require a minimum of four hours of sample preparation through centralized diagnostic centers.
“As we know, early detection can improve treatment outcomes for patients significantly,” he said.
Lee previously won funding for his research from the National Science Foundation I-Corps program as an NJIT site team, and then from the agency’s national program.
“The customer insights Dr. Lee gained through I-Corps provided market validation for the discussions with New Jersey Health Foundation that led to this project,” said Judith Sheft, associate vice president for technology and enterprise development at NJIT’s New Jersey Innovation Institute, in a statement. “We anticipate additional collaborations with NJHF that will leverage our respective capabilities to bring new technologies to the market.”