Office of the Chancellor

Chancellor's Report: 2010-2011 Milestones
In her lab at the Joint School for Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, Dr. Marinella Sandros works on a collaborative project to develop a quick blood test for detecting mild brain 

trauma.

In her lab at the Joint School for Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, Dr. Marinella Sandros works on a collaborative project to develop a quick blood test for detecting mild brain trauma.

Collaborative group of researchers develops a way to quickly detect mild brain trauma

The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering is quickly becoming a breeding ground of great ideas and collaborative partnerships, which is exactly what Dean Jim Ryan wants to see. A preacher of collaboration and interdisciplinary partnerships, Ryan has worked to bring together pairs and groups of faculty members to create such an environment.

One example is the work of Dr. Marinella Sandros who shares an office with Dr. Shyam Aravamudhan. Aravamudhan is an engineer. Sandros is a biomedical chemist. On one ongoing project related to mild brain trauma, a number of faculty members have joined with them: Dr. Vince Henrich, director of UNCG's Center for Biotechnology, Genomics and Health Research; Dr. Kristine Lundgren in Communication Sciences & Disorders; Dr. Ashraf Sawafta, a molecular biologist; Dr. Ghassan Qabaja, an organic chemist; and two graduate students. Their project to develop a way to quickly detect concussions has gotten a lot of press coverage this year — from ESPN Magazine to CBS Sports.com. Currently, detecting mild brain trauma and concussions is an inexact science. For example, on a football field, a coach might ask a player a few questions or hold up a few fingers. The group of researchers is working on a way to use a quick blood test to instantly detect a molecular biomarker signaling brain trauma. Sports trainers, military medics and EMTs would find it advantageous, and the technology might also extend to other medical uses.