We are an international team of students from KU Leuven representing Belgium in the SensUs 2021 Competition, who share a common goal of making the best out of this experience. The team is composed of students of biomedical science, bioinformatics, biochemistry and biotechnology, bionanotechnology, bioscience engineering and medicine. We are eager to learn not only about the influenza A virus and what it takes to develop a biosensor but also to develop and improve on our soft skills. How to communicate with potential sponsors, how to develop a business model, how to identify and reach out to the relevant audience, what is important when working in an interdisciplinary team - these are just a few of many questions we hope to have answers to in a few months.
Just like everyone else, we are also affected by the ongoing pandemic. Therefore, we are all strongly motivated to develop a tool that will help to prevent a similar scenario in the future and we are ready to take this opportunity to compare our strengths with teams from around the world!
Lai-Jin (Lily) Leung
Full professor in bionanotechnology at the KU Leuven, (co-)author of >300 peer-reviewed publications, co-inventor of 10 patent applications, and founder of the spin-off company FOx Biosystems. In 2005, he founded the MeBioS Biosensors research group, which closely follows the emerging field of food and medical diagnostics and is active in bio-assay development, optical biosensors, and microfluidics.
She obtained her degree in Physics (2016) at Bilkent University in Ankara, and her master's degree in Mechatronics Engineering at Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey where she focused on dielectrophoretic characterization and separation of tumor cells using 3D carbon-electrodes. Currently, she is pursuing her PhD degree in "digital ELISA for ultrasensitive detection of blood-based brain tumor biomarkers" in the Biosensors group at KU Leuven, Belgium.
Charlotte van Tricht
She obtained her Master's degree in Bioscience Engineering (2020) at KU Leuven, having specialized in bionanotechnology, and concluded her Master's thesis research at IMEC on the development of cardiotoxicity assays for the electromechanical evaluation of various cardiac cell models using heart-on-chip devices. Recently, she started her PhD research at the MeBioS-Biosensors group of Prof. Jeroen Lammertyn at KU Leuven, focussing on the development of a new CRISPR toolbox for various in vitro and in situ biosensing applications. Having participated in the 2019 edition of the SensUs Competition herself, this is a unique opportunity to support this year's ambitious KU Leuven team in developing point-of-care biosensing technology for sensitive Influenza virus detection.
Lorenz van Hileghem
Lorenz graduated in 2018 as a Bioscience Engineer with a specialization in bionanotechnology and extra credits obtained from LCIE Entrepreneurship Academy. In the same year, he started his PhD in the Biosensors group (MeBioS) of prof. Jeroen Lammeryn, focusing on self-powered microfluidics for biofluid sampling and drug/vaccine delivery.
Aida Montserrat Pagès
Aida obtained her bachelor's degree in Biomedical and Molecular Engineering (2015) at Universitat de Barcelona and she worked on the exploration of targeting molecules for antimalarial drug delivery. In 2016, she finished her master's in Advanced Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (Nanobiotechnology specialization) at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. During the master's, she worked on the development of an optically active nanotool to monitor the interaction of a drug with neuroblastoma cells. In 2017, she started her PhD in the MeBioS - Biosensors group at KU Leuven as a Marie Curie fellow in the project ND4ID (New Diagnostics for Infectious Diseases). Her research focuses on the study of DNAzymes and the development of nucleic acid-only bioassays for multiplexed target detection.
Wannes graduated in 2020 as a Bioscience Engineer with a specialization in bionanotechnology after successfully defending his thesis on the in-house (i)SIMPLE technology of the Biosensors lab of Jeroen Lammertyn. Later that year he started a PhD in the same lab on the topic of self-powered vaccine delivery using a novel vaccine formulation and microneedles.