Caleb Johnson is an undergraduate chemical engineering student, focusing on biology. With professor Agnes Ostafin’s help, he tested the production of nanoparticles that purify blood and is developing a pilot-scale device that will perform this for commercial medical use. Using stable nanoparticles made out of gold, Johnson and Ostafin created chemical combinations that have exteriors that both attract and extract hemoglobin, a major problem behind sickle cell anemia, a medical condition that limits oxygen from being carried throughout the body by red blood cells. “Patients undergoing dialysis will sit in chairs for 3-4 hours while their blood is filtered, which can filter out the good stuff too,” Johnson said. “Similar to chemotherapy, patients can feel nauseous and tired after treatment.” Traditional methods of dialysis often cause blood to sit outside of the body for long periods of time, which cases the body to work harder to filter out contaminants. But Johnson is helping develop a device that will clean blood quicker and more effectively.
Find this article and a lot more in the 2017 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers and entrepreneurs.