Dr. Giri receives TWAS research grant

Paper device
Design of the paper device

The world academy of sciences (TWAS) research grants committee has approved research grant for Dr. Basant Giri’s scientific project. The grants is for the project entitled “development of low-cost alternatives for the quantitative determination of lipids and carbohydrates”.

Dr. Giri said the project aims to develop colorimetric assays for energy reserves such as lipids and carbohydrates on paper microfluidics platform. Paper microfluidics is a branch of microfluidics in which flow of fluids is manipulated in small channels. Sensor based on paper microfluidics are emerging as low-cost and high throughput devices that are especially suitable in field testing and resource limited settings.

TWAS is a merit-based science academy that promotes scientific capacity and excellence in developing countries.

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International foundation for science funds microfluidic research

KIAS scientist Dr. Basant Giri has received individual research grant from the International Foundation for Science (IFS). The funding was granted for a project that aims to develop inexpensive paper-based analytical methods for measuring the quality of medicinal plants. According to Dr. Giri new methods will involve the quantitative determination of total phenolic, flavonoids and antioxidant scavenging activity of plant materials. The phenolic compounds (e.g., flavonoids) in plant are widely known antioxidants, which help to protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals and are associated with the cure of various degenerative diseases. To uncover the medicinal value of plant based products, routine screening of a large number of samples is required. The paper device will be modified with appropriate reagents for given test reactions before sample solution is added. A smartphone camera will be used to capture the signal produced from test reactions. The new methods require relatively small sample/reagent volume thereby generate less waste. Dr. Giri hopes that this new high throughput method will allow to uncover the medicinal value of plants in, specially, resource limited countries like Nepal.

IFS, based in Sweden, supports excellent individual and collaborative scientific research to build capability of early-career scientists in the developing world. IFS grants are highly competitive. The grants are awarded after reviewing proposals by expert panel.

This grant is a major step towards building a world class laboratory in KIAS.

KIAS scientist developed highly sensitive microfluidic assay

The recently reported immunoassay method can detect disease markers in very low concentrations.

Immunoassay methods are considered to be gold standard methods in clinical analysis of various disease markers. These assays are commonly performed in microtiter plates in routine analysis of the samples. Unfortunately, this conventional method is not sensitive enough to detect diseases in their early stages.

The sensitive immunoassay was developed in a new type of platform, the microfluidics. In microfluidic platform, one can precisely manipulate very small amount of fluid. According to Dr. Basant Giri, who did most of the work, the new method in microfluidic devices is 100 fold more sensitive than the conventional microtiter based immunoassay method. The method uses a technique called field amplified stacking in which the product molecules generated from immunoassay reaction are trapped in a narrow region using electric field and buffers of different concentration.

“Highly sensitive analytical techniques are required to estimate small amounts of disease markers (e.g., antibodies/antigens) in bodily fluids in order to detect the onset of dangerous diseases like cancers at their early stages” said Dr. Giri. He added, “Our method not only improved the ability to quantitatively measure the analyte but also used only a microliter of sample”.

This work has been published in a reputed peer-reviewed journal called Analitica Chimica Acta. Scientists demonstrated the novel approach employing enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of human tumor necrosis factor alpha, which is used for the diagnosis of many diseases. As this was a proof of concept demonstration, it will take further research to make this technology available for regular use.