Lead Mentor:

Xuanhong Chen, Bioengineering Materials Science and Engineering

Sickle cell disease is prevalent in Sierra Leone and contributes significantly to the high mortality rate of children. Currently, diagnosis of sickle cell in Sierra Leone is mostly symptom-based since standard diagnostic equipment requires too much training and infrastructure to be implemented in resource-limited settings. To tackle this problem, students will develop point-of-care test strips for sickle cell disease and study the impact of diagnosis on patients’ outcomes. The end goal of this project is to make the tests widely available in Sierra Leone as part of a program to identify and manage sickle cell patients. All majors welcome, but specific skills needed include: 1) wet bench experience to work with biological samples such as proteins, DNA, and blood; 2) mechanical and electrical engineering backgrounds to design and construct benchtop instruments for device automation; 3) experience and interest in prototyping imagers and processing images from the test strips; 4) experience and interest in health surveys and studying socioeconomic impact of diseases; and 5) solid writing skills to prepare proposals and research papers.


Year Project Began: