Continuous Monitoring System for Health Indicators

November 10, 2023

Laura van Smeden defended her thesis at the Department of Biomedical Engineering on November 7.

Close monitoring of biomolecule concentrations is essential in various fields such as health care, research, biotechnology and food safety. Continuous monitoring of health indicators, such as inflammatory markers, hormones and metabolites, offers opportunities for early diagnosis and tailored treatments.

An emerging technology called Biosensing by Particle Motion (BPM) offers a breakthrough method for continuous detection. This technology measures the motion of bio-functionalized particles in the vicinity of a modified surface. Changes in particle motion due to the formation of reversible bonds indicate the presence of specific biomolecules.

With her dissertation, Laura van Smeden investigated the development of BPM systems for monitoring small molecules (such as hormones and metabolites) and proteins (e.g., inflammatory markers), with applications such as the continuous monitoring of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Real-time patient monitoring

One of the conclusions of her research is that continuous measurement of biomolecules requires a system with reversible interactions. This was demonstrated for several health indicators, although it was not always possible because of the high affinity of antibodies.

Another important finding of her dissertation is the continuous measurement of cortisol in blood plasma by integrating microdialysis with BPM. This integrated method makes it possible to continuously sample and detect changes in cortisol concentrations within just 15 minutes. As a result, this approach offers promising applications, especially for real-time patient monitoring.

The techniques investigated by Van Smeden are generally applicable. BPM can be adapted to detect a broad range of biomolecules, which can be continuously sampled with microdialysis. Microdialysis enables sampling from complex matrices, as was demonstrated by sampling cortisol from blood plasma. The integration of BPM and microdialysis is a crucial step for future real-time patient monitoring and provides flexible bioanalytical systems for various applications ranging from basic research to intensive care patient monitoring.

Van Smeden's research opens the door to accurate and continuous health monitoring, promising various scientific and clinical applications.

Title of PhD thesis: Continuous Monitoring of Health Indicators: Investigating BPM immunoassays and Microdialysis

Supervisors: Menno Prins and Arthur de Jong

Mira Slothouber
(Communication Officer)

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