Colorado State University Student Design Project Honored at Engineering Days

Optical Biosensors, a student design project aimed at developing a test for a common canine cancer, took top honors at Colorado State University’s Engineering Days celebration.

This was the third year for the project, but students this year handled the design, fabrication, and testing of the new chip, circuit, and software, which allowed for a fully automated collection of spectra.

The Optical Biosensors is a research project aimed at developing a test for a common canine cancer, hemangiosarcoma, by using a drop of blood. The apparatus the students helped develop requires a range of expertise including optics, fluid dynamics, electronics, and biology.

The design team consisted of three electrical and computer engineering students, Wes Fuller, Torsten Kiljan and Ashley Miller, and two chemical and biological engineering students, Mohamed Eldeiry and Liesel Mundhenke.

Judges recognized the team for a “great and crisp presentation, excellent team management, clever work, and for the multidisciplinary aspect of the project.”

The engineering students at Colorado State University hold an annual Engineering Days celebration (E-Days) to showcase student design projects. E-Days attracts visitors from the community and industry, as well as prospective students interested in engineering.

The Optical Biosensors uses light from an LED or light-emitting diode that is passed through a tiny micro-fluidic channel. The channel is formed from two glass slides sandwiched together with electrodes that create electric fields to control the position of the cells. The slides are mirror coated to create an optical resonator, and the optical transmission spectrum of the cavity is used to examine the cell’s optical properties, which are different for cancer cells and blood cells.

The project was advised by Kevin Lear and two faculty affiliates, Dave Kisker and Susan Hunter as well as graduate students Weina Wang and Joel Kindt.