30th Anniversary World Congress on Biosensors

Summer School

Paper-based Nanosensors  (low cost materials for diagnostics)

Organized by Professor Arben Merkoçi, ICREA/ICN2, Spain and Paul Yager, University of Washington, USA

12 June 2018 | Hyatt Regency Miami, USA

An optional one day Summer School will take place immediately prior to the conference.


Welcome and Introduction

Arben Merkoçi, ICREA, ICN2, BIST, Barcelona, Spain

Paul Yager, University of Washington, USA

Theme 1: Paper-based platforms: general introduction, operation principle and manufacturing

An overview of paper-based (bio)sensing, operation principles, and manufacturing technologies.


Emmanuel Delamarche, IBM Research – Zurich and IBM Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York, USA

What can we do in Si microfluidics and what can be transferred to other formats?

Purpose: This tutorial will describe how to use and encode capillary forces on silicon microfluidics for performing immunoassays. It will also address fabrication strategies and how to combine silicon with other types of materials.

Tutorial: Si-based capillary-driven microfluidics will be explained along with a number of microfluidic functional elements made in silicon, and how to use capillary forces to fill microfluidic chips and implement immunoassays with a great level of precision. Some of the hurdles faced in particular concerning the integration of biological receptors in microfluidic chips will be shown. Main designs and fabrication strategies aiming at lowering the cost of microfluidic chips and/or adding functionalities to the chips will be explained. Potential synergies between Si and paper-like materials as well as opportunities for low cost diagnostics will be discussed.


Joshua Buser, University of Washington, USA

Introduction on paper-based sensors. Operation principles and application opportunities

Purpose: This tutorial will begin with a brief overview of the use of paper microfluidics for fluid handling, enabling multistep assay without external equipment. Some of the challenges of creating precision devices with paper microfluidics will be explored in the context of the protein and nucleic acid-based biosensors currently under development in the Yager lab.

Tutorial: The fundamentals of fluid transport in paper microfluidics will be discussed, with a particular focus on overcoming the shortcomings of previously demonstrated flow models in paper microfluidics using tools originally developed in the field of hydrogeology. Considerations critical to understanding flow in realistic paper microfluidic devices (which are multiple-material, multi-dimensional, and partially-saturated) will be discussed along with the necessary material characterization and fluid flow modelling techniques.


Michael A. Mansfield, EMD Millipore Corporation, Bedford, Massachusetts, USA

Manufacturing of Lateral Flow Diagnostic Tests

Purpose: The purpose of this tutorial is to provide an overview of manufacturing considerations for lateral flow diagnostic tests.

Tutorial: Lateral flow diagnostic tests are manufactured from a variety of materials, including paper, glass fiber mats, nonwoven mats, microporous membranes, and plastic films.  While lateral flow tests are relatively simple in design, integrating these materials with chemistries and producing devices with consistent performance requires an understanding of how the raw materials are themselves manufactured, how their physical properties affect handling, and how they are processed when manufacturing lateral flow tests.  These aspects will be reviewed in this tutorial along with cost considerations, strategies for maximizing yield, and factors contributing to test variability.



Theme 2: Paper-based (bio)sensors applications

Applications of paper-based (bio)sensors in diagnostics (health, environment monitoring, safety and security).


Baojun Wang, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK

Ultra-low cost paper-based biosensors for heavy metal water contamination in resource limited situations.

Purpose: Synthetic biology enabled technologies with interest to develop paper-based biosensors for human pathogens and environmental toxins will be explained. Opportunities to develop new generation low-cost, portable and robust biosensors for use in resource limited settings will be shown.

Tutorial: The tutorial will introduce the principles and challenges in developing synthetic biology enabled paper-based biosensors for human pathogens and environmental toxins. Examples will include: arsenic paper-based biosensors for arsenic and mercuric contamination in drinking water in resource limited situations as well as E. coli cell-based biosensors. Transfer of the corresponding genetic sensor constructs to the paper-based expression system including their advantages will be shown.




John Brennan, Biointerfaces Institute and Fraunhofer Project Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

Design considerations for paper-based biosensors utilizing DNA aptamers

Purpose: The tutorial will cover key issues in the design of aptamer-based point-of-care sensors for clinical applications, with an emphasis on design requirements for producing easily manufactured final devices.   Attendees will learn key elements required to integrate sample preparation, molecular recognition, amplification and readouts into paper-based devices, with an emphasis on generating devices that can be easily translated to the market.

Tutorial: The tutorial will provide interesting knowledge on how to integrate DNA aptamers or DNA enzymes as recognition elements in paper-based sensors. Key components required for sample preparation, molecular recognition, isothermal amplification and readouts and details on how to develop each component and how to integrate them onto paper devices using printing technologies will be shown.  Examples will include sensors for detection of C. difficile in fecal sample, HIV in blood, MRSA in wound exudate and respiratory infection markers in sputum.


Giulio Rosati, BioDevices Lab., Department of Information Engineering, University of Padova, Italy
Daniel Quesada, Nanobioelectronics & Biosensors Group, Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, ICN2, Bellaterra (Barcelona), Spain.

Practical hints on: A) Inkjet printing of electrochemical sensors on paper; B) lateral flow immunosensor design and fabrication.

Purpose: During these demonstrations (in parallel) fabrication of electrochemical and optical paper sensors will be shown. Inkjet printing permits prototyping in short time and at low-cost of electrochemical sensors and biosensors. In addition lateral flow devices using gold nanoparticles as labels allow to obtain cost-effective devices for several applications.

Tutorial: Fabrication of paper-based electrochemical sensors by inkjet printing of conductive ink on paper and a gold nanoparticle-based lateral flow will be shown. Designs will be drawn and sensors can be fabricated in real time, possibly involving the audience. How these sensors may detect the binding of molecules on the electrodes’ surface by performing impedance measurements will be shown. The demonstration will consist in three parts: 1) Sensors fabrication and preparation (20 minutes): in this part an office inkjet printer loaded with a commercial conductive ink to print sensors, featuring an optimized design on paper including the use of a PC-driven application of an adhesive sheet to ensure insulation and electrical contacts will be shown. LF will be designed and set up. 2) Sensors connection to the instrument and measurements setup (10 minutes). 3) Electrochemical and optical measurements (20-30 minutes) and data collection in real time.

Theme 3: Practical hints on paper-based (bio)sensors connection with smartphone

Use of smartphone as reader of paper-based platforms.


Neil Polwart, BBI Group & Founder Novarum DX Ltd, Edinburgh, UK

Combining simple point of care devices with mobile applications to achieve connected mobile diagnostics.

Purpose: Smartphones are often proposed as a solution to overcoming some of the challenges with deploying point of care test devices.  We will explore the potential benefits and pitfalls of doing this and highlight the key considerations in building mobile diagnostic applications which are genuinely useful to the test user.

Tutorial: This tutorial will cover the limitations of mobile devices; the benefits mobile can bring both to executing and reading tests; the range of tests that might be read with mobile; the regulatory implications of using mobile devices to read tests; specifying and designing mobile readers; understanding the key performance characteristics; the difference between a research tool and a commercially viable product; and a discussion about the merits of Android v's iPhone including hands on interactions with a mobile test reader app.


Afternoon Tea and Panel Discussion formed by the speakers that will tackle questions from the audience as well as consider the following discussion points:

  • What do you see as priorities of   paper-based platforms to reach the requested performance in real life   applications?
  • What are the main challenges   that paper-based devices face nowadays to reach the market?
  • What emerging nanomaterials may   significantly contribute in the performance of paper-based sensors?


End of Day


Registration and Welcome Reception