World Health Day: INL scientists are exploring new technologies towards #HealthForAll

April 7, 2023

Today, April 7th, we celebrate World Health Day.

 INL scientists are exploring new technologies combining both the biological understanding of diagnostics and therapeutics with engineering expertise in sensors, microfluidics, electronics, photonics and microscopy. Today we share with you a few projects we are currently working on at INL.

Lorena Diéguez, group leader of the Medical Devices research group, is working on the project PROMISE, funded by “La Caixa” Foundation, to develop an innovative platform to mimic the tumoural microenvironment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer using bioprinted hydrogel microfluidics. Lorena explains that ‘this research will allow a better understanding of the metastatic process and ultimately enable the design of new therapeutic approaches’.

A few labs down the corridor, we can find the Nanosafety research group working on the European project LEARN, together with other researchers at INL. The overall goal of this project is to develop and set up novel sensors to detect the presence of harmful air pollutants in schools. The researcher Ana Ribeiro adds, “We will evaluate the effect of air pollutants in children’s cognition and how correcting the air quality has a positive impact”.

Jérôme Borme, a researcher in the team 2D Materials and Devices, is currently working on a project included in the SMARTgNOSTICS agenda funded by the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR), developing miniaturised devices that will monitor the presence of antibiotics residues in the environment, and detect the presence of multidrug-resistant bacteria.

Another project INL researchers are working on is LifeSaver, funded by the European Union. Andrea Cruz, from the Nanodevices group, explains that ‘we are developing integrated systems to screen chemicals and pharmaceuticals that might affect pregnant women’s health. At the same time, we want to reduce animal, preclinical and clinical testing, which is impossible with other existing approaches to the same confidence level.’

Elisabete Fernandes, also working in the Nanodevices team, is leading the project FIM4Stroke. She is currently developing a point-of-care diagnostic system to integrate conventional stroke management, acting as an auxiliary tool when examining intravenous.

This year’s World Health Day celebration motto is Health for All. This is an opportunity to look back at public health successes that have improved quality of life and to motivate action to tackle the health challenges of today and tomorrow.