DATE: April 2023
Wannes Verbist | Department of Biosystems – Biosensors group | KU Leuven – University of Leuven

The Biosensors group, led by PI Jeroen Lammertyn, closely follows the growing field of biosensing and is active in three main domains: bio-assay development (e.g., DNA-based, biofunctionalized nanomaterials), optical sensors (e.g., fiber optic SPR sensors) and microfluidics (e.g., lab-on-a-chip technology). More specifically, within the microfluidics domain, our group develops life science research tools and in vitro diagnostic solutions for a variety of (bio)medical applications. To cover the whole spectrum, we innovate in several microfluidic branches such as droplet-based microfluidics, continuous microfluidics, digital microfluidics and passive microfluidics (e.g. (i)SIMPLE platform).

In my PhD research, we aim to enable the aforementioned passive microfluidic system called (i)SIMPLE (infusion self-powered imbibing microfluidic pump by liquid encapsulation) for intradermal vaccine delivery. Previous studies have showed that intradermal vaccination has the potential to result in improved immunogenicity and bioavailability, making vaccines more efficient and less costly due to the lower dose needed. Furthermore, by using short needles, vaccinee compliance increases while the risk for needle stick injuries decreases. By implementing these short beveled needles with our (i)SIMPLE technology we finally aim to develop a patch compatible with vaccine self-administration, a key tool in mass-vaccination campaigns, especially in low-resources settings lacking infrastructures and trained healthcare personnel.

In this context, Hamilton products (Gastight 1001) will be used for optimization and validation of injected volumes by making use of the Hamilton glass syringes. Further, Hamilton’s custom needles with specialized bevel (hubless 33G needle, 45°) are ideal for thin skin like the one of rodents, used in our research as model system. In fact, due to their bevel angle, they allow controlled but shallow insertion of the needle for reproducible intradermal injection, controlled by the (i)SIMPLE system. It is Hamilton’s unique set of custom needles that makes Hamilton a very valuable partner in order to achieve our research goals. We are therefore very glad we received this grant and we will make sure to make the maximum out of the Hamilton products received.

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