Brooks participates in $1M NSF grant to develop smartphone-based system for mobile disease detection

Ian Brooks
Ian Brooks, Research Scientist

GSLIS Research Scientist Ian Brooks is part of an Illinois research team receiving $1 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a mobile sensor technology for performing detection and identification of viral and bacterial pathogens. It is one of ten NSF Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity projects funded this year.

The project, PathTracker: A smartphone-based system for mobile infectious disease detection and epidemiology, will be led by principal investigator Brian T. Cunningham, director of the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory and a bioengineering professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Illinois.

In addition to Cunningham and Brooks, the research team includes co-principal investigators Steven S. Lumetta, ECE associate professor and Bioengineering department head; ECE affiliate Rashid Bashir; and David Hirschberg of the University of Washington at Seattle.

Photonic crystals will enable PathTracker to detect and track infectious diseases, sharing results with a cloud-based data management service. The system will enable physicians to rapidly visualize the geographical and temporal spread of infectious disease.

When deployed by a community of medical users, such as point-of-care clinicians and veterinarians, PathTracker will allow rapid determination and reporting of instances of infectious disease. These results can inform treatment and quarantine responses that are currently not possible with tests performed at central laboratory facilities.

Cunningham’s team and the nine other NSF Partnerships for Innovation projects will focus on service systems, engaging academia and the private sector in highly interactive collaborations. Partners will advance, adapt, and integrate novel smart technologies for service systems in ways that dramatically improve performance. By incorporating individuals’ feedback and input, these systems will create more value through adaptive and individualized interactions.