BME PhD Student a Finalist for CIMIT Primary HealthCare Prize


George Daaboul
PhD student George Daaboul (BME) with fast, user-friendly pathogen detection platform (IRIS) he’s helping to develop

By Mark Dwortzan

The Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) has selected PhD student George Daaboul (BME) as one of 10 finalists for the CIMIT Prize in Primary HealthCare, which provides initial funding to engineering students to develop innovative technologies aimed at improving healthcare delivery at the frontlines of medicine. The designation comes with $10,000 to help Daaboul refine his project and research proposal for the competition’s final round.

“I was excited to hear that I made the top 10,” said Daaboul. “The $10,000 will help me to obtain preliminary data for final submission of my proposal to develop a diagnostic platform that can perform a multi-pathogen test that’s rapid and easy enough to be used at point-of-care.”

To develop this platform, known as the interferometric reflectance imaging sensor (IRIS), Daaboul is advancing sensor and microfluidics technology in collaboration with his advisor, Professor Selim Ünlü (ECE, BME), and a team of multidisciplinary researchers led by Ünlü.

“George’s research advances a new method which allows you to detect single viral particles with far more sensitivity and specificity than existing detection methods, such as those requiring fluorescent labels,” said Ünlü. “This technology could enable healthcare professionals to hone in on and isolate individual virus particles of interest.”

CIMIT, a consortium of Boston-area teaching hospitals and universities, fielded applications for the Primary HealthCare prize from 33 engineering programs nationally. The top three proposals will be announced on June 30.