Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $600,544)
Identifying the body fluid left at a crime scene is an important component in forensic science, as knowing what is the body fluid at many times is the key in a criminal investigation and what is considered in court. While tests for detection of body fluids are available, they have low sensitivity and selectivity, consume significant quantity of valuable sample and are labor intensive. Furthermore, current identification methods are limited to one body fluid at a time and hence are inherently more time consuming, require large sample volume and is expensive and thus can negatively influence the outcome of a court case.
The objective of the proposed research is to develop a point-of-use/on-site multiplexed nanobiosensor array that is digital/electronic for identification of multiple body fluids blood, saliva, semen, urine and sweat - through highly sensitive, quantitative, selective, facile, rapid and cost-effective detection of ten body fluids protein biomarkers. To detect these protein biomarkers simultaneously in a small sample volume, we will develop an array consisting of ten nanobiosensors, each consisting of ultrahigh sensitivity single-walled carbon nanotubes chemiresistor transducer functionalized with an antibody of high specificity/selectivity against a specific target antigen. The ability of multiplexed and ultrahigh sensitive quantitative analysis provided by the array nanobiosensor would increase specificity of analysis and thereby make body fluid identification infallible, reduce sample requirement, reduce time, lower forensic analysis cost and make identification more infallible. In order to make these sensors amenable to on-site, multiplexed analysis from a small single sample, light weight, semi/fully-automated, easy to use, low cost, disposable and with no/low environmental burden, single-walled carbon nanotubes chemiresistor nanobiosensors will be integrated with paper-based microfluidics. Further, to facilitate performing forensic analysis at remote crime scene, i.e. on-site, with various environmental conditions the sensor platform will be integrated to mobile/smartphone platform for analysis, data processing and communication. We expect that the proposed sensor system is potentially transformative because the expected outcomes will significantly improve forensic analysis of body fluids and thereby investigative lead and case investigation.
Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law, and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14).