SensUs - 2 months in

SensUs is a new international student competition that is being organized by students at TU/e. At five universities in Europe, multidisciplinary student teams design and develop molecular biosensing systems. Every year SensUs defines a specific biosensing goal for the teams. In January, the challenge for this year was announced: to develop a compact system that detects creatinine in blood plasma. Creatinine is an important biomarker for kidney function and is therefore relevant for many diseases. All teams are now up and running, working hard to make an innovative sensing system.

The five student teams just had their first feedback sessions with the SensUs organization, in which the teams shared their planning and progress. Three of such meetings are planned in order to gain valuable insight into and learn from the processes that the teams are going through. The teams can also request consultancy sessions with the sponsoring companies and healthcare partners on topics such as assay development, system integration, device fabrication, and medical applications. This is one of the ways how SensUs creates a platform in which universities, companies and healthcare partners cooperate.

One other cooperation activity was a workshop entitled “The Self-Tests of the Future” that SensUs organized at the Puls Event on 18 February 2016. Puls is organized by the Dutch Heart Foundation and the Heart & Vascular Patient Group who aim to enhance patient participation in scientific research. In the SensUs workshop, patients, researchers, companies and medical professionals could share their opinions and ideas about biosensing. In small groups several questions were discussed such as “Can a patient perform a diagnostic test on his/her own body for the first time?” and “Would patients like to wear a biosensor implant?”. These questions evoked many lively responses, such as “I wouldn’t know what to do with all those numbers or if the test would show a worrisome result”, “I know many heart failure patients who are afraid of potential disease exacerbations and who would love to be carefully monitored” and, much to the surprise of some researchers, “I would love an implant so that I don’t have to think about having to test myself every several hours”. SensUs values opportunities such as this workshop because the results help in developing a multi-year roadmap for the platform and competition.

On September 10, all teams will convene in Eindhoven where they will demonstrate their prototypes for the general public and members of the universities, companies, and healthcare partners. You are also welcome to visit the SensUs competition. Please mark your calendar and find addition information on the website www.SensUs.org.