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Tuesday, 09 May 2017

Pushing the boundaries of research

INNOVATORS: Dr Mahabubur Rahman Chowdhury, an innovative researcher in the Department of Chemical Engineering at CPUT and his team of researchers INNOVATORS: Dr Mahabubur Rahman Chowdhury, an innovative researcher in the Department of Chemical Engineering at CPUT and his team of researchers

From utilising the human body to generate energy to conducting self-testing for diseases such as cancer, researchers at CPUT are set to change the way we live.

“As a researcher you need to be thinking 20 years down the line,” says Dr Mahabubur Rahman Chowdhury, a researcher in the Department of Chemical Engineering at CPUT.

“If we can make our bodies our source of energy, then why not. Bio-machine interface is the future.”

Over the last few months, Chowdhury and his team have made huge strides in several of the projects they have undertaken, including the development of non-enzymatic bio sensors for glucose detection and the development of a bio-fuel cell that can be used to power implanted medical devices. The team is also exploring bio markers that will allow individuals to self-test for cancer and other diseases.

These innovative projects rely on developments of advanced highly functional material.

Chowdhury says work on these projects began last year and the first phase focused on the development of non-enzymatic bio sensors for glucose detection, an innovative solution that will replace traditional diabetic testing methods. Embedded in a thin film strip, the sensors are developed from highly functional material that can catalyze glucose without any enzymes.

“Diabetes is a big problem and currently there is no cure. You can only manage it and to do that, you need to monitor your glucose levels,” he says.

Currently self-monitoring of blood glucose is done using a glucose monitor and throwaway strip which contains a drop of blood from an individual diagnosed with diabetes.  Chowdhury’s advanced thin film strip can be used multiple times and will cut cost for users.

Building on that project, Chowdhury is using the same functional material to develop a bio-fuel cell that will generate energy utilizing glucose found in an individual’s blood.  The fuel cell will most likely be embedded inside an individual and this energy will be used to power implanted medical devices such as pace makers.

More information on the research can be found in the paper titled “Binderless Solution Processed Zn Doped Co3O4 Film on FTO for Rapid and Selective Nonenzymatic Glucose Detection”.

Written by Candes Keating

Tel: +27 21 959 6311
Email: keatingc@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Engineering and Applied Sciences Faculties; the Bellville and Wellington Campuses, and research and innovation news.