SensUs

International Competition on Molecular Biosensors

The first edition of SensUs – the international student competition on Molecular Biosensors for Healthcare Applications – will take place at Eindhoven University of Technology on Saturday September 10th. SensUs has been founded by prof. Menno Prins, professor in Biomedical Engineering and Applied Physics, and is organized for students, by students.

Everybody knows the power and pleasure of international contests such as the RoboCup, the World Solar Challenge, and iGEM. Teams of students from different universities design, build and demonstrate demo’s and strive for the best possible performance. Such a contest is a great way to stimulate students toward creative, multidisciplinary, function-oriented teamwork, and to accelerate the development of novel technologies in an international context.

The vision of SensUs is that real-time molecular sensing devices will change healthcare in the 21st century, for the best possible monitoring, coaching, and treatment of people. Healthcare is developing toward highly personalized solutions, attuned to the needs of patients, based on real time, precise and reliable data. Important enablers are miniaturized and easy to use sensing devices, which help to improve the monitoring and treatment of patients. This includes devices for near-patient testing (point-of-care) as well as sensors that are worn on or in the body (in-vivo sensors). For this to become reality, novel sensing principles, molecular materials, and device concepts need to be investigated and developed.

Prins: “My intention with SensUs is that it catalyses new ideas and forges cooperation between universities, companies and healthcare partners. SensUs is to become an engine for multi-year technology development in the field of molecular health sensing: smaller, faster, more precise, more integrated, more specific, more sensitive, etc.“

Over a period of 8 months teams of students in 5 countries (Belgium, United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands) have been designing and building biosensor prototypes, and they will all demonstrate their prototypes at the contest on 9-10 September. The teams consist of up to 15 BSc and MSc students, from a variety of backgrounds such as chemistry, physics, electrical engineering, and medical sciences.

This year, the specific goal is to detect creatinine in blood plasma. Creatinine is a waste product of muscle metabolism that is excreted by the kidneys. A rise of creatinine in blood is a sensitive and reliable marker for kidney failure. Millions of people suffer from or are at risk of kidney failure, and the related applications demand for the development of novel biosensor technologies.

Next year the competition will double in size and universities will join from three continents. The targeted biomarker will be B-type Natriuretic Peptide, which is highly relevant for heart failure diagnostics and monitoring.

Prins: “I am very proud of the student teams and of the students within the Honors Academy with whom I organize the competition. It is amazing to see how they perform and how much they learn in a short  timespan. Organizing the competition is a lot of work, but it is also rewarding and I foresee that SensUs is going to be a real motor for education, research and innovation in the field of molecular biosensing.”

On Saturday 10 September the finals of the contest will take place in the TU/e Auditorium. Come to enjoy this very interesting afternoon, with presentations and with demo’s of the international student teams. Your vote will count !

Register for the SensUs event on Saturday 10 September, see www.SensUs.org