Feb. 7, 2019 – ChBE Seminar Speaker – Dr. Tamara Kinzer-Ursem

February 5, 2019

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering welcomes Dr. Tamara Kinzer-Ursem, an Assistant Professor from the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University.

Her seminar titled, “Implementing Viscosity Measurements in Point-of-Care Diagnostics”, will take place on Thursday, February 7 from 2:00-3:00 in Earle 100.

There is a great need to develop low-cost devices for infectious disease detection that are rapid, sensitive, and accurate. Current gold standard screening often involves fluorescence-based DNA amplification readings or antibody-based assays to confirm pathogen presence in either patient or environmental samples. We have developed an alternative method, particle diffusometry (PD), where the presence of pathogen is detected by measuring changes in solution viscosity that result from pathogen DNA amplification. We have shown that PD measurements are 10-100 times more sensitive than traditional fluorescent measurements. In this talk I will introduce the fundamentals of particle diffusometry (PD), compare PD measurements to current gold-standard measurements, and discuss our work in translating the PD technology from the lab to a portable smartphone-based detection platform, enabling detection to be done at point of care.
Tamara Kinzer-Ursem is an Assistant Professor in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. She received her B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Toledo and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and her post-doctoral training in Molecular Neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Purdue she was the Head of R&D in Biochemistry at Maven Biotechnologies and Visiting Associate in Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Kinzer-Ursem has been honored to receive numerous awards for teaching, mentoring, and research including the Willis A. Tacker Award for Outstanding Teaching from Purdue University (2014), Outstanding Engineering Graduate Student Mentor Award (2017), Mandela Fellows Global Innovation Challenge Award (2017), and the NSF CAREER Award (2018).

Research in the Kinzer-Ursem lab focuses on developing tools to advance quantitative descriptions of cellular processes and disease within three areas of expertise: 1) Using particle diffusivity measurements to quantify biomolecular processes; 2) Development of novel protein engineering technologies that enable quantitative description of protein function and elucidate disease mechanisms; and 3) Computational modeling of signal transduction mechanisms to understand cellular processes.