Pain-Free Steroid Hormone Extract Analysis Using Digital Microfluidics

Quantitative steroid hormone measurements are a mainstay in the field of clinical endocrinology, due to their effects in myriad processes from maturation to hormone-sensitive cancers. Conventional steroid hormone testing protocols require a venopunture blood draw (~5 mL) followed by a time consuming immunoassay (~2 hr) each time a single  hormone is tested. In response to this problem (and opportunity) the Wheeler Lab developed a method relying on digital microfluidics coupled with liquid chromatography – tandem mass spectrometry detection (LC-MS/MS). The major benefits of our method is the reduced sample size (~1 µL) and time required (~20 min) for analysis. Our goal is to commercialize this technique by way of a start-up company. However, to attract investment we must: (1) validate the estrogen analysis method (2) extend the extraction method to multiple steroid hormones and (3) develop an alpha prototype device. MITACS Strategic Fellowship funding will be a vehicle to accomplish this work.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Aaron Wheeler


Michael Watson





Life sciences


University of Toronto



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