Nanocomposites could change diabetes treatment


By Communications Staff
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Diabetics may soon be able to wear contact lenses that continuously alert them to variations in their glucose levels by changing colours - replacing the need to routinely draw blood throughout the day.

The non-invasive technology, developed by Chemical and Biochemical Engineering professor Jin Zhang at The University of Western Ontario, uses extremely small nanoparticles embedded into the hydrogel lenses.  These engineered nanoparticles react with glucose molecules found in tears, causing a chemical reaction that changes their colour.

Zhang received $216,342 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) today (Dec. 16) to further develop technologies using multifunctional nanocomposites.

These technologies have vast potential applications beyond biomedical devices, including for food packaging. For example, nanocomposite films can prevent food spoilage by preventing oxygen, carbon dioxide and moisture from reaching fresh meats and other foods, or by measuring pathogenic contamination; others can make packaging increasingly biodegradable.

Overall, Western was awarded $2,659,595 for 12 projects from the CFI’s Leaders Opportunity Fund today.
Other CFI funded research projects include:
• A Live-Cell Fluorescent Imaging and Proteomic Laboratory for Studying Proteins Implicated in Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases - $169,304
• A Novel High Speed Optical Flow Measurement System - $201,189

• Cellular Reprogramming Laboratory to Evaluate Epigenetic Programming Events During Development and in the Generation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells - $208,254

• Center for Study of Whole Body Vibration - $251,423

• Development of a Quantitative Laser Imaging Platform for Plant Canopies - $275,200

• Imaging Platform with Scanning Probe Microscopy: Unveiling and Manipulating Nature’s Form and Function at the Nanoscale - $198,679

• Laboratory for the Assessment of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Phenotypes in Genetically Modified Mice - $193,593

• Laboratory of Neurochemistry of Dementia - $398,227

• Research Infrastructure to Study Rapid and Repeated Evolution of Salmonids - $179,535

• Studies in Behavioural Genetics: Infrastructure for Molecular Biology and Genomic Research - $167,744

• The CulturePlex: a Lab for the Study of Cultural Complexity - $200,105

For more information visit CFI's website. 

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