Ali Beskok, Ph.D., Hunt Institute Senior Fellow

Ali Beskok, Ph.D. is a Hunt Institute Senior Fellow, and he is the Brown Foundation, Inc. Professor of Engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Beskok previously served as the Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering from 2013-2019.

Currently, his research concentrates on the theory, experiments, and numerical modeling of micro- and nano-scale thermal/fluidic transport processes, which have applications in bio-microfluidics, nanotechnology, and energy systems. The Biomicrofluidics Research Laboratory, led by Dr. Beskok, focuses on the study of microfluidic and nanofluidic transport phenomena and the design of fluidic devices with applications in healthcare, energy systems, and biochemical analysis. In the biomicrofluidics lab researchers design, build, and test Lab on Chip devices for biomedical, environmental monitoring, and food/water safety applications. Researchers also perform numerical simulations of mass momentum and energy transport in micro and nano-scales, using continuum based and atomistic methods.

In 2018, Dr. Beskok partnered with the Hunt Institute’s Global Development lab for his research in the Lab on Chip Point of Care Device (POCD). The first phase was completed in the Spring of 2019 and produced a broader impact report titled Bridging the Gap in Diagnostics. Phase II is focused on COVID-19 antibody detection research.

Regarding this cutting-edge research, Dr. Beskok says, “The gold standard for antibody detection is the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). However, its application is limited by its portability and high-cost operation. Its detection mechanism relies on receptor/target molecule reactions, which take place through diffusion-dominated transport kinetics. Therefore, the detection mechanism is quite slow and has low sensitivity. Unfortunately, the most recently developed lateral flow assays exhibit low sensitivity and specificity, and these cannot be reliably used for determining the spread of COVID-19 infection. We developed a quantifiable, accurate, fast, portable, and inexpensive diagnostic method based on detection of Covid antibodies from blood plasma. This point of care device will enable testing of the entire or large portions of the population for COVID-19.

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