Welcome to the Toley Lab's website
The primary vision of our lab is to conduct translational research at the interface of engineering and biology, while training engineers and scientists to tackle multidisciplinary problems, while having fun along the way!! Some of the areas for which our group is known for are paper-based microfluidics, point-of-care diagnostics, isothermal nucleic acid amplification technologies, and lateral flow assays.
The overarching theme of the research conducted in our lab is the development of new and enabling technologies for biomedical research and medical diagnostics. We give particular emphasis to development of simple and low-cost technology that can be used at or delivered to low-resource settings e.g. rural areas and lightly-equipped clinical or research laboratories.
Point-of-care medical diagnostics
For a better and healthier future, state-of-the-art medical diagnostic technology must be accessible at the point-of-care, i.e. in close proximity to where the patient is receiving care. However, this requirement is currently far from fulfilled. In India, every year ~1 million people are infected by the TB-causing bacteria Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. The state-of-the-art in rapid detection of TB is by using molecular methods, i.e. detecting the bacteria directly by their DNA. However, molecular diagnosis requires very expensive instruments that are not accessible to most in the country. This gap became obvious during the COVID19 pandemic as the world grappled with getting access to "RT-PCR" testing. We aim to develop simpler, smaller, and cheaper medical diagnostic devices that can match the performance of state-of-the art instruments. We think of such devices as mini chemical plants and apply fundamentals from chemical engineering and other engineering disciplines to build sophisticated, yet simple-to-use biomedical devices.