UGA College of Engineering, Clemson Developing Low-cost Device to Detect Cancer

Ferrofluids form a spiking pattern on top of a rectangular permanent magnet. While many college football fans are focused on this week’s marquee matchup between the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson University Tigers, researchers from the two institutions are collaborating off the playing field to develop low-cost technology that can detect cancer.

Leidong Mao, associate professor in the UGA College of Engineering and Jian He, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Clemson have discovered a system to measure magnetic properties of materials by combining their knowledge of ferrofluids, or liquid magnets, and microfluidics, fluids that are geometrically constrained to a small, typically sub-millimeter scale.

“Conventional equipment for measuring magnetic properties of materials is large and expensive,” Mao said. “By combining these two technologies, we are able to measure magnetic properties of materials using a low-cost, small device that works quickly and leaves a small footprint.”

The researchers use their technology to isolate cancer cells with magnetic particles from a sample. “Being able to measure magnetic properties in a low-cost and fast fashion is of great importance in the area of biomedical research,” said He. “We aim to use our technique not only to measure magnetic properties, but also as a diagnostic tool to distinguish between normal cells and cancer cells in the long run.”

UGA College of Engineering
The University of Georgia College of Engineering is uniquely positioned as the country’s newest engineering school at the oldest state-chartered university. Offering a fundamental, yet comprehensive, dynamic and robust educational experience in a liberal arts environment, UGA’s College of Engineering preps students to become successful, practicing engineering leaders, capable of working in any complex arena.

Clemson University
Ranked number 25 among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land-grant, science- and engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching and student success. Clemson is an inclusive, student-centered community characterized by high academic standards, a culture of collaboration, school spirit and a competitive drive to excel.

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