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NIH recognizes engineering professor's innovative research with major award
Date:10/2/2009

not require a lens, we were also able to increase the visual field to a few hundred times larger than the area that can be seen under a microscope," Ozcan said. "LUCAS really provides a capability that doesn't exist today."

Resource-poor areas, like parts of Africa, India and Brazil, would benefit enormously from having tools that could diagnose and monitor diseases in the field. Today, the great distances between people in need of health care and the facilities capable of providing it still pose a major obstacle to improving health.

According to Ozcan, the LUCAS platform can be produced rather inexpensively parts cost less than $10 and all one needs is a simple camera phone. In developed nations like the United States, point-of-care testing can potentially be done by LUCAS as well, reducing the cost and frequency of visits to the doctor's office and to labs.

Specifically, for HIV patients, the phone can be used to measure CD4 or CD8 cells in a person's blood to determine if an HIV patient has AIDS; or a red blood cell count can determine if someone is anemic or might have malaria. Further, in the event of a disaster in which water quality may be compromised, the cell phone can be used to detect hazardous microparticles that might have contaminated drinking water.

To broaden the applications of LUCAS, Ozcan's next goal is to modify the imaging platform so that it is able to detect low concentrations of bacteria, at levels of 100 to 1,000 bacteria per milliliter. Ozcan says he is confident that when merged with nanotechnology, LUCAS can be enhanced to analyze nanoparticles like viruses, proteins and even DNA.

In addition to the New Innovator Award, Ozcan, 30, was also recently named one of Technology Review's top young innovators under the age of 35. The magazine honors technologists and scientists whose work they believe is changing the world.


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Contact: Wileen Wong Kromhout
wwkromhout@support.ucla.edu
310-206-0540
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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