Smartphones_Healthcare Disease DetectionDr. Aydogan Ozcan is revolutionizing disease detection and diagnosis. The electrical engineer and bioengineer from the University of California, Los Angeles has developed a microscope that utilizes smartphones.

Smartphones seem a simple alternative to expensive lab equipment. “We have close to six billion cell phone subscribers today,” Ozcan said on the timeliness of his development. Of these users, 70 percent come from developing countries that have a greater need for this microscope.

The system weighs about 200 grams and is able to identify particles as small as 100 nanometers. According to Charles Choi of Scientific American, the microscope can also detect relatively large viruses like HIV and harmful bacteria present in food and water.

The device is easy to use, which means more people can use the smartphone microscope for their benefit. The portability and cost-effectiveness of the device may prove invaluable in remote areas without easy access to medical facilities or trained personnel.

How exactly does the microscope function?

Instead of lenses, this device creates images electronically, according to a New York Times article by Anne Eisenberg. Choi explains that molecules known as fluorophores “[that] fluoresce under certain wavelengths of light” identify and locate the target particles to which they attach.

A blue laser shined onto the particles excites them, creating a hologram from which information can be extracted. The hologram may prove quicker than microscopes in disease detection and diagnosis, according to Eisenberg.

This speed and effectiveness could play a crucial role in future research by, for instance, facilitating the screening of entire regions. This could help gather information on how diseases spread and subsequently inform future responses, Ozcan said.

Ozcan continues to develop his research for the betterment of global healthcare. Holomic LLC, a start-up he founded, “aims to commercialize the computational microscopy.” Commercialization may give his and similar innovations a greater reach and applicability.

Jocelyn Lim

Sources: Anna Eisenberg, Charles Q. Choi, Holomic, National Geographic, Biophototonics
Picture: Google Images

On April 12, students, professionals and policy makers will come together for the Global Health and Innovation Conference (GHIC).  Taking place on campus at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, the conference will discuss methods and means of global healthcare development.

Topics to be addressed at GHIC range from the Key Note Address “Reducing Toxins to Protect Health: A Global Concern” to business innovations in healthcare delivery to student-researched projects about environmental sustainability.  By casting such a wide net of current and prospective advocates and leaders, the conference truly offers a diverse range of perspectives and solutions.

The conference is, furthermore, sponsored annually by Unite for Sight.  Unite for Sight is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality eye care for those who are prevented access to such care.  The organization has helped over 1.7 million patients and performed 66,000 sight-restoring operations worldwide.  As such a dynamic agency for global healthcare, Unite for Sight has hosted the GHIC for the past 11 years.

Past reviews of the conference are overwhelmingly positive.  CNN has called the Global Health and Innovation Conference a “Meeting of Minds,” and as speakers vary from CEOs to undergraduate students, such a convergence seems apt.  The Consortium of Universities for Global Health has even dubbed the conference a “must attend” event.  With such strong praise, it is no wonder the conference is now officially the largest global health conference in the world.

There is something intriguing and engaging for all global health advocates at the conference.  Exhibitions by graduate programs in Public Health and International Affairs, such as Brandeis University’s Keller School of Social Policy and Management, offer wonderful opportunities to learn more about making global development into a professional goal.  Interactive workshops in sustainable architecture and global health writing are also sure to be great draws.

– Taylor Diamond

Sources: Unite for Sight, Consortium of Universities for Global Health
Photo: Pragzter