Using microscope technology on mobile phones to trace malaria quickly and cheaply

News - 09 November 2017 - Webredactie 3ME

Doctoral candidate Temitope Agbana, who works at the DCSC Department on a TU Delft Global fellowship, together with his colleague Hai Gong received the Silver Edmund Optics Educational award for his Optical Smart Malaria Diagnostic Project last month. They aim at realizing accurate diagnosis of malaria with a click of a button.

With the  supervision of professors Gleb Vdovin and Michel Verhaegen, Agbana aims at realizing an innovative and handy optical instrument, that is able to detect early-stage malaria in a cheap and efficient manner. In the first phase of this project, a low-cost high-resolution cell-phone based microscope has been realized. The instrument is powerful enough to resolve the presence of malaria parasite, and being very simple, it is particularly useful in poor, developing countries, where the supply of modern medical equipment is limited. With the integrated smart algorithm, developed by the team, the burden of a lab technologist, and the complexity of quantifying the parasitemia in a blood smear, is alleviated. It is already agreed with the Nigerian health officials, that the first working prototype will be tested in the rural areas of Nigeria in the coming months.

As a focus on the next phase of the project, the team is working diligently to research a  simple label-free diagnosis of malaria parasite, using multimodal imaging. If successful,  this will simplify the elaborate sample preparation,  resulting into decrease  in the complexity and time associated with the current sample methods of analysis. Research on the healthcare context in Nigeria,  which matches the human needs with the technology features is performed in a close collaboration with the TU Delft Industrial Design Engineering Department, and  the Public Health Department  of the College of Medicine  of the University of Ibadan. The Silver Edmund Optics Educational Award consists of 5,000 euros worth of high-tech lab equipment.

Edmund Optics Educational Award
The Edmund Optics Educational Award is given annually by the Photonics components supplier Edmund Optics (EO) in recognition of ÔÇťoutstanding undergraduate and graduate optics programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics worldwide". EO's Educational Award Team has evaluated over 750 applications to select 30 global finalists. Company products worth a total of $45,000 are awarded to the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners from the Americas and Europe to support their research.

More information about the Optical Smart Malaria Diagnostic Project: TU Delft Global Initiative

More information about the Edmunds Optics Educational Award

Temitope Agbana