BME Distinguished Lecture Series: Brian Cunningham, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium (MDEA)
Brian T. Cunningham, Ph.D.

Willett Professor of Engineering
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering 

Abstract: The strong electromagnetic coupling between plasmonic nanoparticles and photonic crystal surfaces is used as the basis for an ultrasensitive detection platform technology called “Activate Capture + Digital Counting” (AC+DC) that offers single step, isothermal, rapid, 100 aM detection of protein and nucleic acid target molecules. Because AC+DC operates at room temperature and does not utilize wash steps or enzymatic amplification, it is well suited for applications that include point-of-care diagnostics, frequent monitoring of the effects of therapy, and quantitative analysis of biomarkers in bodily fluids. The talk will describe the underlying electromagnetic and biochemisty principles of the AC+DC approach and show representative applications in cancer genomic diagnostics and viral load monitoring.

Bio: Brian T. Cunningham is the Willett Professor of Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he also serves as director of the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory. His research interests include biophotonics, bionanophotonics, micro/nanofabrication processes & materials, BioMEMS, lab-on-a-chip, microfluidics, biosensing and applications in drug discovery, health diagnostics, mobile point-of-use detection systems, life science research, environmental monitoring, animal health and food safety. Cunningham’s key technical contributions and achievements stem from his invention and application of nanostructured photonic surfaces that efficiently couple electromagnetic energy into biological analytes, enabling high signal-to-noise sensing of materials that include small molecules, nucleic acids, proteins, virus particles, cells and tissues. He has made key foundational contributions to the application of mobile devices (such as smartphones) to point-of-use detection systems that provide equivalent capabilities to laboratory-based instruments. Cunningham is a fellow of IEEE, OSA, AAAS, NAI and AIMBE.