Public Release: 

UGA faculty of engineering researchers awarded $1 million NSF grant to develop nanoscale biosensors

University of Georgia

The National Science Foundation has awarded $1 million to a team of University of Georgia researchers to study and develop 3-D nanoscale structures to address problems in biosensing. The increasing demand and interest in developing implantable glucose sensors for treating diabetes has led to notable progress in this area and the team plans to refine key issues of long-term calibration and other aging effects on the sensors.

The team's collaborative work is the result of the creative approach of new initiatives by UGA's Faculty of Engineering and the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NanoSEC). Designed to anticipate future developments in research and funding, these entities allow faculty to leverage their talents with the overall strength of UGA as an institution.

"This mechanism says you've got to incorporate science and engineering working together; both nanotechnology and bioengineering are two critical elements to our success," said Yiping Zhao, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. William Kisaalita and Guigen Zhang, both of professors in the Department Biological and Agricultural Engineering, complete the team, on which all three will serve as principal investigators.

"The research conducted by the Faculty of Engineering at UGA is important to the state of Georgia," said President Michael F. Adams. "In particular, this award from the NSF demonstrates that our approach to engineering is well-suited for developing new technologies and meeting future needs."

To achieve their objective, the researchers will expand on their newly developed nanofabrication technique - glancing angle deposition (GLAD) - to fabricate nanoscale 3-D pillars. This development will provide several unique features to suit the needs of biosensing applications.

"With such a joint effort, we move to the forefront of this cutting-edge research and get the opportunity to help people by developing biosensors to solve health-related problems," said Zhang.

The project, formally titled "Enhancing the Sensitivity and Stability of Biosensors by Novel Nanostructures," is part of the NSF Program NIRT, Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Team. The program is designed to harness the potential of this emerging field by encouraging interdisciplinary research and cooperation to solve pressing problems. The UGA team relies on a convergence of expertise from physics, engineering and nanotechnology.

The award became effective on August 15, 2003, and will have a duration of 48 months.


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