Kankindi Rwego

Kankindi Rwego Photo

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Participant: PROMISE AGEP Research Symposium, 2014


Kankindi Rwego
Department
: Fischell Department of Bioengineering
Institution: University of Maryland, College Park

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ABSTRACT

Colorimetric Nanoparticles For Biosensing

In order to develop biosensors that change color upon the detection of a pathogen, nearly monodisperse polymer nanoparticles that can arrange into an ordered lattice structure that emits structural color, which is color free of pigment, or dye are synthesized. This work investigates methods for preparing electrostatically stabilized lattice structures by investigating the co-polymerization of polystyrene latex particles with the ionic co-monomer sodium-2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonate (“AMPS”) through varying emulsion polymerization reaction parameters.

Additionally, this work is the first to deposit polystyrene-co-poly(N, N-dimethylacrylamide) core-shell nanoparticles onto a glass substrate, entrap in an elastomer matrix, and successfully show color change from green to red in less than 30 seconds upon exposure to a non-polar solvent. As such, the ability to induce a color change that is observable by the unaided human eye has been established. Therefore, this research promises to lead to the development of colorimetric biosensors in the near future.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

I am pursuing a PhD in Bioengineering because I want to bring low-cost, effective diagnostic tools to the developing world. My career goals include becoming General Counselor for an international, research-based pharmaceutical company. I intend to use that position not only as a platform for supporting women and minorities in STEM fields, but also to promote research, development, and manufacturing of medicines in Africa.

As I have always been interested in social justice issues, including the use of technology to promote global health and the public interest, I was able to integrate seemingly incompatible academic interests and strengths in the sciences and the liberal arts and found a compromise in the allied fields of patent law and technology commercialization by earning my Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences from the Pennsylvania State University and a law degree from Emory University School of Law.

After being admitted into the Fischell Department of Bioengineering graduate program at the University of Maryland, College Park, I began research with Dr. Kofinas regarding the development of a future biosensor that changes color upon the detection of a pathogen. My interest in this project arose from the idea of using such a biosensor in low resource settings such as a refugee camp. I am excited about the opportunity to continue working to develop biosensors for use as point-of-sample diagnostics for pathogen detection.

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GENERAL SUMMARY OF GRADUATE RESEARCH

My research involves the development of a future biosensor that changes color upon the detection of a pathogen. My interest in this project arose from the idea of using such a biosensor in low resource settings such as a refugee camp. The first principle is the synthesis of nearly monodisperse polymer nanoparticles that can arrange into an ordered lattice structure. Once the structure is formed, the nanoparticles emit structural color, which is color free of pigment or dyes that is nearly defined by Bragg’s Law of Diffraction (mλ=2dsinθ). These colorimetric nanoparticles are subsequently entrapped in a responsive polymerized gel matrix so that they may change color in response to stimuli. This work is the first to deposit polystyrene-co-poly (N, N-dimethyl acrylamide) core-shell nanoparticles onto a glass substrate, entrap in an elastomer matrix, and successfully show color change upon exposure to a non-polar solvent.

I intend to continue this research in order to develop a recognition platform for the biosensor by strategically cross-linking a gel matrix with antibody functionality for capture and release kinetics and/or utilizing hybridized dioligonucleotides that are displaced by competitive probe oligonucleotides in order to control the expansion and shrinkage of the gel matrix, and consequently the change in structural color. I am excited about the opportunity to continue working to develop biosensors for use as point-of-sample diagnostics for pathogen detection.

Disclaimer: Information on this page has been provided by and is owned by the student presenter.

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