Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Department of Bioengineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The ability to noninvasively measure for the presence of soluble proteins and miRNA can potentially serve as a route towards inexpensive, multiplexed early disease detection. Lab-on-a-chip technology that can automate the steps of biomarker assays can have a substantial impact on diagnostics and treatment monitoring.
Brian Cunningham earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1990. His research is focused on the application of sub-wavelength optical phenomena and fabrication methods to the development of novel devices and instrumentation for the life sciences. He leads a highly interdisciplinary group with expertise in the areas of microfabrication, nanotechnology, computer simulation, instrumentation, molecular biology, and cell biology. In particular, his group is working on biosensors based upon photonic crystal concepts that can either be built from low-cost flexible plastic materials, or be integrated with semiconductor-based active devices, such as light sources and photodetectors, for high-performance integrated detection systems.
Using a combination of micrometer-scale and nanometer-scale fabrication tools, his group members are devising novel methods and materials for producing electro-optic devices with nanometer-scale features that can be scaled for low-cost manufacturing. In addition to fabricating devices, the group is also focused on the design, prototyping, and testing of biosensor instrumentation for high sensitivity, portability, and resolution. The methods and systems developed in the laboratory are applied in the fields of life science research, drug discovery, diagnostic testing, and environmental monitoring.