Umer Hassan

Assistant professor, School of Engineering,
Rutgers University-New Brunswick,
and faculty at
Rutgers Global Health Institute

Phone: (848) 445-2164
Email: [email protected]

Umer Hassan remembers being fascinated by the handheld tricorder used to diagnose medical conditions on Star Trek.

Hassan is working to recreate some of that technology in real life. As an engineer and a global health researcher, Hassan is developing biosensors that can quickly and inexpensively detect infections in people living with HIV/AIDS in underdeveloped countries.

In these countries, he said, one in five people living with HIV/AIDS could be infected with other diseases, and the biosensors’ swift measurements could be life-saving.

His point-of-care biosensors are:

  • low-cost
  • completely automated
  • can quantify or diagnose disease rather than relying on expensive equipment

The biosensors may have a global impact, but Hassan says that they can be used close to home, too. Recently, Hassan spent time in a local hospital for the birth of his daughter, and he soon realized that the biosensors could assist physicians and save lives.

“Collecting blood samples from newborns and infants is really painful for the babies and, of course, for the parents, too,” he said. “For pediatric populations collecting large volumes of blood samples for diagnostics is not easy. Our biosensors require only a drop of blood to get the required diagnostic test done. This will not only reduce the amount of blood sample collected, but also the reduce the cost and time it takes to receive the results.”