News & Events

Dr. Jim McGrath Receives $900,000 in NSF Grants

September 24, 2012

Biomedical Engineering associate professor, Jim McGrath, Ph.D. has just received some important grants to develop new applications for the super-thin, nanoporous silicon membranes that have been developed at the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences. A nearly $600,000 National Science Foundation grant will partner McGrath's labSiMPore (the University-based startup that manufactures the membranes), RIT, and Integrated Nanotechnologies (INT), another local startup. They'll be using the membranes as filters in a portable INT device that can analyze DNA extracted from a drop of blood. This can be used to diagnose disease or detect pathogens, in the field, in a matter of minutes. They'll then miniaturize all of this onto a lab-on-a-chip (LOC).

Another $300,000 from NSF will fund McGrath's ongoing research to modify the membranes for additional uses; a $100,000 grant continuation from the Coulter Foundation will fund McGrath's efforts to develop a blood dialysis device, using a silicon membrane, that would be small enough to wear on a belt. Imagine what a godsend that would be, if people could remain mobile and active while undergoing continuous dialysis, instead of sitting four hours a day, three days a week in dialysis centers!