Catarina Caneira – AIM Fellow 2017

Catarina Caneira_photo_Dec 2017

Catarina Caneira has undergraduate degrees (bachelor and master) in Biomedical Engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico of the University of Lisbon (2015). In 2016 she was awarded with a one-year BI-Mestre research fellowship in the project OptLoc with the research topic “On-chip DNA amplification and integrated optical detection”, conducted at INESC-MN.

Her PD-FCT AIM project is entitled “MicroPathID: Rapid in-field microfluidic system for diagnostic of pathogens”. This project takes place at INESC MN and INL. The thesis is supervised by João Pedro Conde (INESC MN and Department of Bioengineering of Técnico) and co-supervised by Elisabete Fernandes (INL). Her doctoral program started on October 1st 2017.

  • Research:

My research focuses on the development of a microfluidic-based system that can identify the presence, in a raw biological sample, of a specific bacterium, such as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and methilcillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Application in a hospital environment will require the platform to be (1) Fast – it must be fast enough to allow decisions to be taken during triage; (2) Sensitive, selective and reproducible – comparable to standard laboratory methods; (3) Easy to use – minimal user intervention and minimal steps; (4) Inexpensive – must be significantly cheaper than PCR-based methods. The microfluidic platform will integrate steps of lysis, DNA extraction, DNA or signal amplification, and DNA detection. Fluidic control and sensors will be integrated on-chip to achieve a “sample-to-answer” system. This point-of-use/point-of-care platform is generic and can be adapted for other applications, such as food safety, environmental analysis, biodefense, agriculture production and animal and human health, allowing for a much wider range of potential end uses.

  • Project goals:

(1)  INDIVIDUAL MODULE DEVELOPMENT – Development of the modules in a microfluidic format of the steps required for DNA analysis.

(2)  SYSTEM INTEGRATION AND PRE-VALIDATION – Pre-validation of the integrated system will be performed against standard centralized laboratory methods.

(3)  TESTS IN CLINICAL ENVIRONMENT – optimization of the device to achieve performance required in a hospital environment.

  • Past Activities:

-        Participation in the European Researchers’ Night (2017).

-        Attended a pressure sensor microfabrication course: Summer School at the University of Applied Sciences Kaiserslautern, Germany (2017).

-        How to Design Powerful Scientific Experiments Workshop, Instituto Superior Técnico (2017).

  • Publications:

(prior to AIM)

I.F. Pinto, C.R.F. Caneira, R.R.G. Soares, N. Madaboosi, M.R. Aires-Barros, J.P. Conde, A.M. Azevedo, V. Chu, “The application of microbeads to microfluidic systems for enhanced detection and purification of biomolecules”, Methods 116, 112-124 (2017). (DOI: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2016.12.005)