We seek to make saliva samples the first choice for disease detection
Team: BME Design Team: OneShot
Program: Biomedical Engineering
Interest in saliva as a painless, biofluid collection modality has risen because of the COVID-19 epidemic. However, saliva typically has a low concentration of biomarkers, which makes detection difficult and can lead to false-negative results. Furthermore, saliva solutions are difficult to handle because they contain viscosity inducing mucins. This can lead to issues in both laboratory automation and issues when transferring saliva samples to point-of-care tests kits. Methods to remove viscosity increasing mucin proteins from saliva can take upwards of 30 minutes using traditional lab procedures and often require specialized laboratory equipment. Because both concentration and de-viscotization procedures are unique to each biomarker and expend considerable time, costs of processing different saliva biomarkers are expensive. Thus, a generalizable solution is needed. Therefore, there is a need for a less time-intensive method to decrease the viscosity of and concentrate saliva samples in order to increase the accuracy and speed of detection of key saliva biomarkers. Our team will achieve this goal by developing a device which can take in a saliva sample and remove viscous mucin proteins and waste fluid (water and other small interferents) which will decrease viscosity and increase concentration respectively. The user of the device should be able to insert unprocessed saliva sample(s) into the device and receive a concentrated, non viscous saliva sample that can be utilized in testing for the biomarker of choice.
Project Mentor: William Clarke, Ph.D.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nicholas Durr, Ph.D.
Teaching Assistant: Lindsay Pierle