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Brian Cunningham

Compact biosensor microscope built for point of care diagnostics

October 18, 2021

Current medical diagnostics involve sending samples to laboratory facilities, which can be difficult and expensive. Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have designed a desk-sized instrument that can make the same measurements at the location where the samples are collected.


October 18, 2021


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Microscope that detects individual viruses could power rapid diagnostics

March 20, 2021

A fast, low-cost technique to see and count viruses or proteins from a sample in real time, without any chemicals or dyes, could underpin a new class of devices for rapid diagnostics and viral load monitoring, including HIV and the virus that causes COVID-19.

Researchers at Illinois described the technique, called Photonic Resonator Interferometric Scattering Microscopy, or PRISM, in the journal Nature Communications.


March 20, 2021


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Portable, point-of-care COVID-19 test could bypass the lab

August 31, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to spread, bottlenecks in supplies and laboratory personnel have led to long waiting times for results in some areas. In a new study, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign researchers have demonstrated a prototype of a rapid COVID-19 molecular test and a simple-to-use, portable instrument for reading the results with a smartphone in 30 minutes, which could enable point-of-care diagnosis without needing to send samples to a lab.


August 31, 2020


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Personalizing Cancer Diagnostics

August 26, 2020

When assessing whether or not a tumor is benign or cancerous, a needle biopsy is the usual method of diagnosis. The tissue can then be analyzed to determine what mutations are present that are specific to the patient. Because this method is invasive, it’s generally only used once. During and after chemotherapy, imaging tests are used to monitor the size of the tumor; however, imaging only shows the physical characteristics of the tumor – it fails to monitor what is actually happening to the cells.


August 26, 2020


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Faculty Receive Three NSF Rapid Grants For COVID-19 Testing

May 7, 2020

Three Nick Holonyak Jr., Micro and Nanotechnology Lab (HMNTL) and IGB faculty members have received NSF Rapid Response Research (RAPID) program grants, all of which aim to shorten the amount of time it takes to process a COVID-19 test. Current tests can take as long as five days for results to be returned to the patient. Although more rapid nucleic acid tests that can give a result within an hour have become available, there are reports of a high rate of false negatives among these tests.


May 7, 2020


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Inexpensive, portable detector identifies pathogens in minutes

April 23, 2020

Most viral test kits rely on labor- and time-intensive laboratory preparation and analysis techniques; for example, tests for the novel coronavirus can take days to detect the virus from nasal swabs. Now, researchers have demonstrated an inexpensive yet sensitive smartphone-based testing device for viral and bacterial pathogens that takes about 30 minutes to complete. The roughly $50 smartphone accessory could reduce the pressure on testing laboratories during a pandemic such as COVID-19.


April 23, 2020


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New Center for Genomic Diagnostics will reimagine disease detection technologies

January 29, 2020

A new research center at the University of Illinois directed by Donald Biggar Willett Professor in Engineering Brian Cunningham aims to revolutionize diagnostics and personalized medicine, developing technologies that are at once more accurate, more affordable, and more practical for routine care.


January 29, 2020


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Smartphone diagnostics kit for infectious diseases

November 11, 2019

Infectious diseases such as Zika and Dengue remain a top contributor to death and disability across the globe, according to the World Health Organization. Diagnosing and treating these diseases, which often have similar symptoms, is especially difficult in developing countries, where access to health care and laboratories is often limited.


November 11, 2019


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