BioAnalytical Side

Our research focuses on exploiting microfabrication to miniaturize chemical and biochemical analysis technologies. Using microfluidic of channels on glass devices, we have created networks for primarily electrophoresis-based separations for genotyping and sequencing of DNA. However the recent work of the group focuses on bioanalytical detection of chemicals and molecules. Using integrated fluid handling and actuation in combination with various external/internal detection systems we are able to minimise the whole system to a hand held tabletop device.

The aim of this project is the integration of a human synovial organ model into a multifunctional lab-on-a-chip to elucidate how systemic stress factors impart architectural remodeling of the synovial tissue. We hypothesize that the reorganization of the synovium that takes place in arthritis is intimately linked to altered tissue functions in support of the perpetuation of inflammation as well as joint destruction. To date no work has systematically addressed the interdependence between tissue reorganization and tissue function. The successful cultivation of a complex living system in a microanalytical analysis platform would therefore yield substantial insights into rheumatoid arthritis pathogenesis and open new avenues for exploring the mechanisms of inflammation-induced tissue fibrosis and organ failure. 
This joint research project is carried out in cooperation with Prof. Hans Kiener (Medical University Vienna) and Peter Ertl (AIT). This project is funded by the Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF) in the amount of 771.000 Euros for the duration of 4 years.

Pathogen detection
Detecting and identifying viruses rapidly and quantitatively is essential for dealing with threats such as epidemic outbreaks and hostile acts using pathogens as biological weapons. Hence this project aims to develop a hybrid, integrated molecular analysis system (HIMAS) that is suitable for the detection of hemorrhagic fever including Ebola. The goal is to combine programmable microfluidics and anti-resonant reflecting optical waveguide (ARROW) as a single optofluidics platform for sample processing and amplification-free detection. It would public health in numerous ways, including screening for outbreaks of biodefense and emerging pathogens, rapid decision making in patient diagnosis, or continuing viral load monitoring for disease management. This joint project is carried out in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Holger Schmidt (University of California, Santa Cruz) and is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).