Biomedical engineering master student’s research could improve our health care system

Faculty of Engineering
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Mechanical Engineering
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Zachary Morris’ research project could lead to quicker diagnoses.

Prompt diagnoses of diseases is crucial to optimize treatment outcomes. Zachary Morris, who is a master’s student in biomedical engineering, is conducting research that will help detect diseases earlier, allowing doctors to begin treatment earlier and thus improving the patient’s chances of recovery.  

We asked Zachary about his work and his plans for the future.

Zachary, can you tell us more about your research project?

We are developing a testing platform that can perform bedside diagnostics in minutes. We intend to use a chemical assay that converts the biomolecules that are correlated with a target disease, also known as disease biomarkers, into nanoparticles. Our system then uses a nano-filter to capture and count the proxy nanoparticles. When these particles are captured, they affect on-chip fluid pressures, which we can then quantify using a new type of integrated microfluidic pressure transducer.

Our microfluidic diagnostic system would allow for earlier detection of diseases because of its low detection threshold and its high sensitivity at low biomarker concentrations. By identifying illnesses at their early stages of development, we can start treatment earlier and increase the chance of patient survival. 

What motivated you to pursue research in this field?

Even as a child, I was very motivated to work in a medical field and to help people, but I’ve always had an aversion to blood and guts. By working in diagnostic research, I can still pursue my passion for this field by developing tools to improve health-care practices and outcomes for patients and medical professionals. 

What are your career aspirations?

I hope to continue working in research and development, helping to design and optimize diagnostic and therapeutic tools that will make health care more accessible for everyone. One of my goals is to conduct research on Alzheimer’s disease and develop a long-lasting therapeutic treatment. 

Zachary Morris and the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering
Michel Labrosse, interim dean of the Faculty of Engineering, and Zachary Morris (Engineering Research Celebration Day, 2024)

Enabling technologies for health care and augmented life

Zachary Morris’ research, supervised by Professor Michel Godin, will significantly accelerate the diagnostic timeline for patients with bedside diseases. His work won first place in the Enabling Technologies for Health Care and Augmented Life category of the 2024 Engineering and Computer Science Graduate Poster Competition held at the Faculty of Engineering. Zachary Morris currently pursuing his master’s degree in biomedical engineering

The Faculty of Engineering conducts research in five areas of focus, including Enabling Technologies for Health Care and Augmented Life.

This article is part of our series highlighting winners of the 2024 Engineering and Computer Science Graduate Poster Competition.