Charles Henry, a professor in the Department of Chemistry, recently won the American Chemical Society’s Advances in Measurement Science Lectureship Award. This award recognizes three individuals from around the world who have made significant impacts in the chemistry measurement science.
Henry’s research focuses on microfluidic devices, which can test for environmental and biological phenomena. These paper-based devices have myriad applications in sensing technology, ranging from analyzing pollutants to detecting bacteria.
“Paper-based microfluidics is one of the hottest moves in sensing at present,” said John R. Yates, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Proteome Research, in an interview with ACS. “Chuck Henry has been responsible for many of the seminal advances in this area of research.”
This research has pushed the boundaries of developing these low-cost, paper-based devices. Dr. Kate Bohele, who recently graduated from Henry’s group, found a way to apply the research to test for falsified or substandard antibiotics.
Now, the goal is to see how fast and how far the devices can be taken. Current devices can take more than 30 minutes to work, as they rely on slow wetting. In many cases, Henry’s research may be able to reduce that time to less than five minutes. He’s also advocating for more field applications.
“We are pushing more and more systems into the field for both environmental and medical applications,” he said. “Allowing people in the field to tackle critical problems without a centralized laboratory will benefit many people in developed and developing countries alike.”
Henry attributes the impact of this research to the students and postdocs who take part in it.
“The award is really a recognition for the hard work that the students and postdocs have put into moving the fundamental chemistry and engineering of these systems forward,” he said. “It shows the impact the work is having in our field.”