Prof. Electra Gizeli received a B.Sc. in Chemistry (Kapodistrian University of Athens); M.Sc. from UCL and Ph.D. from the Univ. of Cambridge, UK. In 1995 she received a BBSRC Fellowship and established her group at the Inst. of Biotechnology, Univ. of Cambridge; from 2003 she has been at the Dept. of Biology at the Univ. of Crete and IMBB-FORTH. Her research interests include the development of acoustic sensors and their application to biophysics and molecular diagnostics. She has (co-)authored over 65 publications, 3 book chapters, 1 edited book and 2 granted patents. Work from her group was shortlisted in the 2013 “Greek Innovates” competition and awarded the 2015 “Nokia Open Innovation Challenge” Executive Award. During her career she has been actively involved in the technology transfer of concepts/technologies developed in her lab; she has served as a reviewer and consultant in European and international organizations and industrial advisory boards. Her work has attracted funding of over 4M€.
The development of integrated, fast and affordable platforms for pathogen detection in food and other samples is an emerging area where a multidisciplinary approach is necessary for designing flexible micro/nano/bio systems; these new technologies promise a significant advancement of the current state of analytical testing leading to overall improved healthcare. In this EC-funded work, we have developed a lab-on-chip platform for the genetic analysis of Salmonella in milk samples. The system employs several innovations, including two plasma-etched plastic chips for bacteria capturing, lysis and nucleic acid purification; a micro-PCR module responsible for DNA amplification; and, an acoustic array-type biochip for DNA detection. All these modules are integrated in a credit-card size docking station where a microfluidic cartridge is used for sample processing. Automated, multiscale manipulation of fluids in complex microchannel networks is combined with novel sensing principles developed within the project. Current results show that a limit of detection of 5 bacteria can be reached through acoustic sensing without the use of labels while the total on-chip testing time is less than 2 hours. The system is expected to have a significant impact in food-pathogen detection by providing for the first time an integrated detection test for Salmonella screening in a very short time. Finally, thanks to the low cost and compact technologies involved, the proposed set-up is expected to provide a competitive analytical platform for direct application in field settings.