“Diabetes mellitus is a public health problem affecting an estimated 150 million people worldwide. The complications arising from this are numerous, including higher risks of heart disease, kidney failure and blindness,” stated John Stanley, P V Suneesh and Keerthy Dhara.
While the former is Senior Research Scholar at the Amrita School of Biotechnology, the latter two hold the same positions at the Biosensor Research Lab of the Department of Sciences in the Amrita School of Engineering at Coimbatore.
The trio recently won the first prize at Anveshan 2013, a national-level Student Research Convention organized by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
They bagged the first prize in the Basic Sciences category for their invention, Lab-on-a-Chip Diagnostic Device that could help bring low-cost clinical services to every doorstep in India.
The objective of our work was to develop a low-cost point-of-care device for the simultaneous determination of glucose, cholesterol and creatinine in blood using non-enzymatic sensors,” the research scholars shared.
“For diabetic patients, it is important to monitor cholesterol and creatinine levels as these can serve as markers for cardiovascular and kidney diseases respectively, together with blood glucose levels,” they noted.
Explaining the reason for choosing nonenzymatic sensors, they said, “Most enzymatic sensors not only entail higher production costs, but are also prone to changes in temperature, pH and humidity. Hence we decided to try the nonenzymatic approach.”
The students received guidance from Dr. T. G. Satheesh Babu, Assistant Professor, Department of Sciences, Amrita School of Engineering, Coimbatore.
“It is indeed a great honor for us that our students competed and received the first place in basic sciences from among the best research students in the country,” he stated.
In the first phase of the competition, the Amrita team had participated in a zonal contest (there were five zonal contests – north, south, east, west and central) in January at the Gandhigram Rural Institute in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu.
The zonal contests saw the selection of 81 teams including Amrita’s from a total of 300 participating teams from all over India.
During the second phase in Mumbai in March 2013, the successful teams presented their work. The Amrita team was asked to make an oral presentation as well as display a poster. A panel of judges that included scientists from the IITs, TIFR, TISS and BARC evaluated their work.
The criteria for evaluation included application of scientific principles, thoroughness, relevance, cost effectiveness and quality of teamwork.
The Amrita team was adjudged the best in the Basic Sciences category. Other categories were Engineering, Health & Allied Sciences, Agricultural and Social Sciences.
June 29, 2013
School of Engineering, Coimbatore