Johns Hopkins and Belgian research center to expand health care applications for silicon nanotech

October 24, 2013

Researchers and physicians at The Johns Hopkins University will collaborate with Belgian nanoelectronics research center imec to advance silicon applications in health care, beginning with development of a point-of-care device to enable a broad range of clinical tests to be performed outside the laboratory. The collaboration, announced today, will combine the Johns Hopkins clinical and research expertise with imec's technical capabilities. The two organizations plan to forge strategic ties with additional collaborators across the value chain in the health care and technology sectors.

"Johns Hopkins has always prioritized innovative and transformative research opportunities," said Landon King, M.D., the David Marine Professor of Medicine and executive vice dean of the school of medicine. "Our new collaboration with imec is such an opportunity, and we very much look forward to leveraging our respective strengths across the university in biomedical and nanotechnology research to improve patient diagnosis and care throughout the world."

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Bloomberg School of Public Health and Whiting School of Engineering have teamed up with imec in the hope of developing the next generation of "lab on a chip" concepts based on imec technology. The idea is that such a disposable chip could be loaded with a sample of blood, saliva or urine and then quickly analyzed using a smartphone, tablet or computer, making diagnostic testing faster and easier for applications such as disease monitoring and management, disease surveillance, rural health care and clinical trials. Compared with the current system of sending samples to a laboratory for testing, such an advance would be "the health care equivalent of transforming a rotary telephone into the iPhone," said Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D., the Martin D. Abeloff Professor of Oncology. Pardoll leads the advisory board for the Johns Hopkins-imec collaboration, which will work to extend new applications of silicon nanotechnology into multiple areas of medicine.

"This relationship with Johns Hopkins is an important step toward creating a powerful cross-disciplinary ecosystem with consumer electronics and mobile companies, medical device manufacturers, research centers and the broader biopharma and semiconductor industries, to create the combined expertise required to address huge health care challenges that lie ahead," said Luc Van den hove, president and CEO of imec. "Only through close collaboration will we be able to develop technology solutions for more accurate, reliable and low-cost diagnostics that pave the way to better, predictive and preventive home-based personal health care."

Rudi Cartuyvels, senior vice president of smart systems at imec, added, "The unique combination of imec's nanoelectronics expertise with Johns Hopkins' proven medical sciences and clinical expertise will enable us to jointly develop game-changing solutions for more effective health care."
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Established as an independent nonprofit research organization in 1984, imec is a leader in the fields of silicon nanotechnology, semiconductors and bioelectronics. Founding faculty on the Johns Hopkins side of the collaboration include Robert Bollinger, M.D., M.P.H., a professor and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education (CCGHE); Stuart Ray, M.D., FIDSA, professor of medicine and oncology in the Division of Infectious Diseases of the Department of Medicine; Denis Wirtz, the Theophilus Halley Smoot Professor of Engineering; and William Osburn, Ph.D., an instructor in the Division of Infectious Diseases. The new initiative significantly expands upon an established relationship between imec and JHU's school of engineering.

About - Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM), headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is a $6.7 billion integrated global health enterprise and one of the leading academic health care systems in the United States. JHM unites physicians and scientists of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with the organizations, health professionals and facilities of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. JHM's vision, "Together, we will deliver the promise of medicine," is supported by its mission to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence in medical education, research and clinical care. Diverse and inclusive, JHM educates medical students, scientists, health care professionals and the public; conducts biomedical research; and provides patient-centered medicine to prevent, diagnose and treat human illness. JHM operates six academic and community hospitals, four suburban health care and surgery centers, and more than 30 primary health care outpatient sites. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, opened in 1889, was ranked number one in the nation for 21 years in a row by U.S. News & World Report.

About - Imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. Imec combines its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, health care and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, U.S., China, India and Japan. Its staff of more than 2,000 people includes more than 650 industrial residents and guest researchers. Further information on imec can be found at http://www.imec.be.

Johns Hopkins Medicine

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