ECE Assistant Professor Mehdi Javanmard has won the NSF CAREER award for the project titled "CAREER: Reconfigurable Electro-Fluidic Prescriptions (REFRx): Data-Driven Biosensors for Detection and Treatment of Multidrug-Resistant Cancers." This is a five-year $500,000 award. These prestigious awards are in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. This most recent CAREER award makes it the 8th active CAREER Award in the ECE department, reflecting the phenomenal success of our young faculty members!
Mehdi and his group will develop an instrument that can rapidly identify drug resistant cancer cells in tumors and prescribe a course of treatment for the patient that minimizes chance of cancer recurrence. Drug resistance is one of the greatest impediments to treating both cancer and infectious disease and has been identified as one of the greatest public health threats of the next several decades. The proposed miniaturized instrument can be utilized for rapidly screening cancer patients for drug resistance and identifying the key molecular players involved and selecting optimal cancer treatment drugs. In this work, a microfluidics/electronic/data-driven crosscut approach is proposed to enable a rapid technology that can identify drug resistant cells using machine learning and examine the key protein pathways resulting in resistance using a label-free sensing array. The proposed platform is adaptive and reconfigures itself to assay the relevant proteins on-demand and avoids a resource-hungry brute force approach. This interdisciplinary project will engage and train both graduate and undergraduate students in various areas and also K-12 students through outreach workshops, local industry through educational lectures, and the general public through development of an online course, resulting in broad dissemination of knowledge.
Congratulations on this outstanding achievement Mehdi!