Shreya Deshmukh is a PhD candidate in Bioengineering at Stanford University. She is working in Dr. Utkan Demirci’s group, pursuing her research interest in designing innovative microscale technologies for global health applications. She is developing a point-of-care malaria detection platform using magnetic levitation, targeted for resource-limited settings to expand access to analytical capabilities in field settings. She will conduct pilot studies in malaria-endemic areas in Uganda, and hopes to test her device in Southeast Asia where drug resistance to artemisinin combination therapies is a threat to malaria elimination efforts.
Control efforts for malaria are challenged by antimalarial resistance emerging in Southeast Asia. In this changing landscape, healthcare workers need access to more advanced analysis of patient samples than basic diagnosis. To address this, I propose a microscale magnetic levitation technique for quantitative analysis of malaria-infected blood cells. I aim to detect infection then characterise the cells’ phenotypic drug response to detect resistance. Doing this rapidly at the point of care would enable timely targeted treatment. The inexpensive, portable, user-friendly device would be contextually appropriate for resource-limited settings, thus increasing healthcare workers’ analytical capabilities at the patient interface.