Biologistics Funded Research 2017

Advanced Aerogel Packaging Solutions

Dr. Firouzeh Sabri, Jeffrey Marchetta

The cold shipping of biological materials requires new kinds of packing materials to make it feasible. Drs. Sabri and Marchetta are heading up a team that is designing, constructing, and testing cold-chain biologic packaging made with aerogel, a synthetic, ultralight material with strong thermal insulating capabilities. According to Dr. Sabri, current packaging options are "rather primitive" and not adequate to meet the demands of biologistics in the future. "We envision an advanced form of packaging technology that will dramatically outperform current technology," Dr. Sabri says. The new packaging will help spur new procedures and advancements in medicine that would be difficult or impossible without reliable cold transport and storage.

Post-Disater Management of Freight Transportation Networks: Phase 2

Dr. Charles Camp, Dr. Shahram Pezeshk, Dr. Chris Cramer

What impact will future earthquakes and other disasters likely have on transportation system infrastructure? Drs. Camp, Pezeshk, and Cramer are using FEMA's HAZUS-MH 2.2 software to study this question and, more specifically, assess how damage may affect temperature-controlled logistics services. "The ability to plan and manage transportation after a major disaster, such as an earthquake or flooding," says Dr. Camp, "is critical not only to the long-term economic viability of our community but also to the post-disaster recovery of the region."

Remote End-to-End Temperature Tracking for Regulatory Compliance

Dr. Firouzeh Sabri

Once the shipment arrives at the lab, how can doctors be sure it hasn't been compromised by temperature changes, contamination, or other forces? Dr. Sabri is working on that too, developing low power, wireless sensing gear that can be placed in the package to track pressure, humidity, vibration and most importantly, temperature. "The cold chain supply industry is facing tighter regulations by the government," says Sabri, "and a key parameter that needs to be continuously monitored and recorded with a high degree of accuracy is the storage temperature of the shipped goods during transit and upon delivery." Sabri says this research also has exciting applications for drones that can be employed to carry emergency services and sensitive cargo in extreme conditions.

Biologistics of Lung Cancer

Dr. Prabhakar Pradhan

Getting the specimen to the lab is one way to go about screening. But when it comes to early cancer detection, Dr. Prabhakar Pradhan of the Biologistics Cluster has a different idea: ship the screening technology. The earlier cancer is detected, the better. However, the equipment used to detect nanoscale alterations in cells that indicate early carcinogenesis is the enhanced particle wave spectroscope (EPWS), a very large and cumbersome piece of equipment. Not every facility has one. So for facilities without this technology but in need of cancer cell screening, cells must be collected from the patient, fixed and preserved, and shipped carefully in a temperature-controlled package. "The shipping and handling of cell samples can result in compromised cells that can affect the outcome of the screening or prevent screening entirely," says Dr. Pradhan. That's why he and his team are working to perfect a smaller, portable tabletop version that can be easily shipped to where it's needed. "The challenge is to make the EPWS portable, while still ensuring efficient screening and accurate results," says Pradhan. Although focused on lung cancer screening and management, Pradhan sees wide applications for other kinds of cancers as well.

Nano-Enabled Energy Storage Device: Nano engineering Approach

Dr. Sanjay Mishra

Dr. Sanjay Mishra is leading the research and development of nanobatteries: small, light, and long-lasting energy sources that can reliably power sensors throughout the journey. More specifically, Mishra is pursuing an oxide-based energy storage device. "It has nano-structured electrodes that are energy dense," he says, "to provide reliable, long-lasting power to climate-controlled packaged specimens, tissue samples and more at a low cost and with a reduced environmental footprint."