Inspiring high school students about biosensor technology

About

Next to our student competition we organize the High Schools Project. Within this project we aim to motivate young talents for technology and for all its diversity applied to biosensors. Each year the project focuses on a theme which is relevant to the theme of SensUs in that corresponding year. The high school students will work in groups and will come up with new ideas according to the TRIZ model (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving). This method means that social needs and problems are identified and translated into new inventions. Furthermore, SensUs provides the assignment description and organizes a starting lecture, literature, pitch and poster training which will take place at the TU/e. Additionally, an excursion is organized to get a more practical view of the subject. In the end, the high school students will have developed a concept biosensor which takes into account the user and clinical relevance.

The pilot of the project was in 2016. Together with the Eindhoven School of Education (ESoE) the concept for the SensUs High Schools Project was made. There were three participating groups from one high school. One of these groups even won the OMO-prize, which is the prize for best ‘profielwerkstuk’ of North-Brabant.

Theme 2019

The theme of SensUs 2019 is rheumatoid arthritis. The student teams participating in the competition are creating biosensors that measure the concentration of adalimumab in blood. Adalimumab is a commonly used, but also costly drug for rheumatic disease. Each year we try to connect the theme of the High Schools Project to the theme of the SensUs student competition, so this years High Schools Project also concerns rheumatic disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that primarily affects joints. RA is characterized by certain auto-antibodies, such as anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs) (anti-CCP in Dutch). Determining the presence of these ACPAs can be useful for diagnosis and prognosis of RA. 

Therefore, the assignment for the SensUs High Schools Project is to develop a concept of a biosensor that can measure concentration of ACPAs in blood. The participants will not only focus on the relevant processes for detecting ACPAs, they will also pay attention to the usability and the societal relevance of such biosensor. The societal impact is an important aspect in the project.

The participating high school students will get the opportunity to present their developments on the 30th of August during the SensUs Innovation Days 2019 with a poster and a pitch in the Atlas building of the TU/e.

High school students presenting their biosensor concept

Rules

To participate in the SensUs High Schools Project, the following guidelines apply:

  • The level of the project is most suitable for 4/5VWO. 
  • Advised are group sizes from 1-5, so individual participation is also possible.
  • Be available on the last Friday of August to attend the SensUs event.
  • Be willing to put effort into an extracurriculair project, from January until July.
  • The project can be combined with “profielwerkstuk (pws)”.

Contact

SensUs attaches great importance to stimulating young students for technical projects such as the High Schools Project and thereby creating awareness for biosensors. By participating students can really see what a technical study entails. Not only can they orientate well in this way, but they also practice their soft skills such as making scientific posters, collaborating in groups and giving presentations.

For more information or registration, mail to highschools@sensus.org