Binary Research Group

Dr. Chen received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, USA in 1998. The BINARY lab (Biology, Information science and Nanotechnology Applications and Research laboratorY) was founded in Spring 2003. The mission is to provide a cross-disciplinary research environment for exploring new nanoscale device & circuit designs and nanotechnology for bio-medical applications. Our primary research focuses include:

  1. Developing a pulsed-wave technology platform to stimulate cell growth (with the applications in cell therapy, tissue engineering, mental health and antibody productions), and microorganism growth (with the applications in increasing renewable biofuel /algal oil, antibiotics, omega-3, and wine/beverage productions);
  2. Building functional nanomaterials for water filtration (removing microorganisms, organic chemicals and heavy metals), gene transformation of agricultural products, targeted cancer imaging and treatment, gene/peptide/microRNA delivery (especially across the blood-brain-barrier);
  3. Designing portable impedance-based point-of-care devices for detecting metabolic biomarkers, monitoring environmental toxins, sensing plant infections at an earlier stage, and screening pathogens for food safety.
  4. Developing smart-phone Apps incorporating artificial intelligence methods to diagnose depression, especially postpartum syndrome, and invoke clinical intervention if needed. Making low-intensity pulsed ultrasound wearable devices for treatment.

The University of Alberta is home to cutting edge facilities such as the National Institute for Nanotechnology, as well as having the interdisciplinary expertise to be an epicentre for new waves of innovation in Biomedical Engineering. The University of Alberta was ranked 46th in the world for the impact of its engineering publications.

  
News

 
"Single Ascospore DetecWon for the ForecasWng of ScleroWnia Stem Rot of Canola" was accepted by Lab on a Chip    (24/07/2020)

"Single Ascospore DetecWon for the ForecasWng of ScleroWnia Stem Rot of Canola" by  Duarte, Pedro; Menze, Lukas; Abdelrasoul, Gaser; Yosinski, Shari; Kobos, Zak; Stuermer, Riley; Reed, Mark; Yang, Jian; Li, Susie; Chen, Jie was accepted by Lab on a Chip
Abstract: Smart-agriculture technologies comprise a set of management systems designed to sustainably increase the efficiency and productivity of farming. In this paper, we present a lab-on-a-chip device that can be employed as a plant disease forecasting tool for canola crop. Most reports on lab-on-a-chip devices are focused on the demonstration of advanced functionality and are restricted to medical and healthcare applications. An equally important and critical challenge exists in the integration and application of these devices to other real-world problems that may fall outside of this conventional scope. Our device can be employed as a platform to forecast potential outbreaks of one of the most devastating diseases of canola and other crops, Sclerotinia stem rot. The system consists of a microfluidic chip capable of detecting single airborne Sclerotinia sclerotiorum ascospores. Target ascospores are injected in the chip and selectively captured by dielectrophoresis, while others in the sample are flushed away. Afterward, captured ascospores are released into the flow stream of the channel and are detected employing electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and coplanar microelectrodes. Our device provides  [ ... ]

"Impact of Low-intensity Pulsed Ultrasound on Transcription and Metabolite Compositions in Proliferation and Functionalization of Human Adipose-derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells" was accepted by Scientific Reports    (02/06/2020)

Impact of Low-intensity Pulsed Ultrasound on Transcription and Metabolite Compositions in Proliferation and Functionalization of Human Adipose-derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells was accepted by Scientific Reports. ObjectivesTo investigate the effect of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) on the proliferation of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (hASCs) and uncovered its stimulation mechanism. MethodsLIPUS at 30 mW/cm2 was applied for 5 minutes/day to promote the proliferation of hASCs. Flow cytometry was used to study the cell surface markers, cell cycle, and apoptosis of hASCs. The proliferation of hASCs was detected by cell counting kit-8, cell cycle assay, and RT-PCR. The expression of hASCs cytokines was determined by ELISA. The differences between transcriptional genes and metabolites were analyzed by transcript analysis and metabolomic profiling experiments. ResultsThe number of cells increased after LIPUS stimulation, but there was no significant difference in cell surface markers. The results of flow cytometry, RT-PCR, and ELISA after LIPUS was administered showed that the G1 and S phases of the cell cycle were prolonged. The expression of cell proliferation related genes (CyclinD1 and c-myc) and the paracrine function related gene (SDF-1α) were up-regulated. The expression of cytokines was increased, while the apoptosis rate was decreased. The results of transcriptome experiments showed that there were significant differences in 27  [ ... ]

"Safety Assessment of a Wearable Low-Intensity Pulsed Ultrasound Device for Relieving Mental Illness Symptoms" by Shiang Qi and Jie Chen was accepted by the 42nd Annual International Conferences of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society    (12/04/2020)

"Safety Assessment of a Wearable Low-Intensity Pulsed Ultrasound Device for Relieving Mental Illness Symptoms" by Shiang Qi and Jie Chen was accepted by the 42nd Annual International Conferences of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Abstract: Depression is expected to be one of the significant global medical burdens. Ultrasound therapy, with much encouraging evidence, has been demonstrated to have a beneficial effect on alleviating mental illness symptoms (neuropsychiatric conditions). However, the study of estimating the risk of using therapeutic ultrasound has barely been investigated. In this experiment, we developed a wearable head-mounted LIPUS device and assessed the possible tissue damage when applying the LIPUS stimulation on the brain. Our computer simulation and in-vitro experiments results demonstrate that the low-intensity ultrasound (LIPUS) device can safely deliver small doses of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound through the skull into the brain. The results indicate that this modality has the potential for use in the treatment of many neurological diseases in the future.

The University of Maryland ECE Distinguished Alumni Awards    (25/03/2020)

3d ECE Professor Jie Chen was recently awarded the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Maryland for his accomplishments and impressive contributions to the field. This prestigious award is presented annually to the University of Maryland alumni that have provided leadership and meritorious contributions in the broad field of engineering. Dr. Chen received his M.Sc and Ph.D. degrees in ECE from the University of Maryland. Dr. Chen’s most significant contributions have been to the fields of biomedical ultrasound circuit design, precision medicine tools such as microfluidic biosensors, and glucose coated gold nanoparticles for enhanced tumor radiation therapy. Over the past decade, Dr. Chen was the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Killam Annual Professorship Award 2015-2016 (one of the highest honours to a professor in Canadian Universities for outstanding contributions in teaching, research and community services) and the McCalla Professorship Recipient 2016-2017 (One of the highest honours given to a professor at the University of Alberta) among many others. He is an IEEE Fellow and also a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. Read more about Dr. Chen's research work here: https://lnkd.in/gd58TkT

"Secondary Metabolites Profiled in Cannabis Inflorescences, Leaves, Stem Barks, and Roots for Medicinal Purposes" was accepted by Scientific Reports    (08/02/2020)

"Secondary Metabolites Profiled in Cannabis Inflorescences, Leaves, Stem Barks, and Roots for Medicinal Purposes" by Dan Jin, Kaiping Dai, Zhen Xie, and Jie Chen Abstract Cannabis research has historically focused on the most prevalent cannabinoids. However, extracts with a broad spectrum of secondary metabolites may have increased efficacy and decreased adverse effects compared to cannabinoids in isolation. Cannabis's complexity contributes to the length and breadth of its historical usage, including the individual application of the leaves, stem barks, and roots, for which modern research has not fully developed its therapeutic potential. This study is the first attempt to profile secondary metabolites groups in individual plant parts comprehensively. We profiled 14 cannabinoids, 47 terpenoids (29 monoterpenoids, 15 sesquiterpenoids, and 3 triterpenoids), 3 sterols, and 7 flavonoids in cannabis flowers, leaves, stem barks, and roots in three chemovars available. Cannabis inflorescence was characterized by cannabinoids (15.77-20.37%), terpenoids (1.28-2.14%), and flavonoids (0.07-0.14%); the leaf by cannabinoids (1.10-2.10%), terpenoids (0.13- 0.28%), and flavonoids (0.34-0.44%); stem barks by sterols (0.07-0.08%) and triterpenoids (0.05-0.15%); roots by sterols (0.06-0.09%) and triterpenoids (0.13-0.24%). This comprehensive profile of bioactive compounds can form a baseline of reference values useful for research and clinical studies to understand the "entou [ ... ]

“DNA APTAMER-BASED NONFARADAIC IMPEDANCE BIOSENSOR FOR DETECTING E. COLI.” was accepted by Analytica Chimica Acta    (05/02/2020)

DNA APTAMER-BASED NON-FARADAIC IMPEDANCE BIOSENSOR FOR DETECTING E. COLI Gaser N. Abdelrasoul, Afreen Anwar, Scott Mackay, Marcus Tamura, Manzoor A. Shah, Damase P. Khasa, Ruth R. Montgomery, Albert I. Ko, Jie Chen Abstract: Developing a real-time, portable, and inexpensive sensor for pathogenic bacteria is crucial since the conventional detection approaches such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays are high cost, time-consuming, and require an expert operator. Here we present a portable, inexpensive, and convenient impedance-based biosensor using Interdigitated Electrode (IDE) arrays to detect Escherichia coli (E. coli) as a model to demonstrate the feasibility of an impedance-based biosensor. We manipulated the affinity of the IDE array towards E. coli (E. coli BL21 series) by functionalizing the IDEs’ surface with an E. coli outer membrane protein (OMP) Ag1 Aptamer. To determine the dominant factors affecting the sensitivity and the performance of the biosensor in detecting E. coli, we investigated the roles of the substrate material used in the fabrication of the IDE, the concentration of the aptamer, and the composition of the carboxy aliphatic thiol mixture used in the pre-treatment of the IDE surface. In the sensing experiments we used an E. coli concentration range of 25 to 1000 cfu.mL-1 and confirmed the binding of the OMP Ag1 Aptamer to the outer membrane protein of the E. coli by Field Emission Scanning Elect [ ... ]

US patent awarded    (23/11/2019)

Our US patent "Devices and Methods for Nanoparticle Enhanced Impedance-based Molecular Sensing" was granted. Abstract: An impedance based biosensor and method for detecting a target biomolecule in a sample are provided. The biosensor has a substrate, and first and second spaced-apart electrodes disposed at the substrate. A molecular recognition element (MRE) for binding with the target is bound to the substrate between the first and second electrodes. The biosensor also has a nanoparticle having an MRE bound to its surface. In the presence of the target, the nanoparticle is immobilized between the first and second electrodes due to binding of the target biomolecule with the first MRE and binding of the target biomolecule with the second MRE. A measurable change in electrical impedance across the first and second electrodes occurs due to the immobilization of the nanoparticle between the first and second electrodes.

"A Miniaturized Low-Intensity Ultrasound Device for Wearable Medical Therapeutic Applications" was accepted by IEEE Trans. on Biomedical Circuits and Systems (special issue wearable and flexible integrated sensors for screening, diagnostics, and Treatment    (22/10/2019)

"A Miniaturized Low-Intensity Ultrasound Device for Wearable Medical Therapeutic Applications" by Xiaoxue Jiang, Wai Tung Ng and Jie Chen was accepted by IEEE Trans. on Biomedical Circuits and Systems (special issue wearable and flexible integrated sensors for screening, diagnostics, and Treatment). Abstract: Low-intensity ultrasound has drawn increasing attention recently as a non-invasive modality for medical therapeutic applications. Current market-available low-intensity ultrasound devices are bulky and expensive. In this paper, a battery-powered miniaturized device is proposed to generate lowintensity therapeutic ultrasound. The proposed device consists of a custom Application-specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), an off-chip digital control block, and a piezoelectric transducer. The ASIC, which integrates a DC-DC boost converter and a transducer driver, is implemented in TSMC’s 0.18 μm BCD Gen2 process. Measurement results show that a maximum output voltage of 14 V is achieved by the proposed fully-integrated DCDC boost converter with a battery supply voltage of 3.7 V. The peak power conversion efficiency is 29% and the output power at the peak power conversion efficiency is 105 mW. The on-chip transducer driver applies a half-bridge circuit with two n-type devices at the output stage. A low propagation delay, low power consumption, high voltage level shifter is proposed in this paper for the high-performance operation of the half-bridge driver. The piezoelectric tran [ ... ]

"Improved Low-Power Cost-Effective DCT Implementation Based on Markov Random Field and Stochastic Logic" was accepted for publication    (12/10/2019)

Yufeng Li, Yan Li, Deqiang Cheng, Fan Yang, Xuan Zeng and Jie Chen, “Improved Low-Power Cost-Effective DCT Implementation Based on Markov Random Field and Stochastic Logic” was accepted by IEEE Trans. on Video technology.  Abstract:  Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) is a commonly used building block for image and video compression. In this article, we present a Markov Random Field (MRF)-based design for DCT implementation because MRF logic gates outperform standard non-MRF units by achieving high noise immunity for applications to logic-based computing systems in deep sub-micron condition. Furthermore, it is found that stochastic logic, a low-cost form of number representation, can also efficiently simplify computations. By combining these two techniques, we present an improved DCT hardware circuit. The example eight-point onedimensional DCT (1D DCT) system is simulated using 65 nm CMOS technology. Simulation results show that the proposed MRF design can achieve 13% higher noise immunity and 47% area saving, compared with the typical stochastic 1D DCT using classical Master-and-Slave architecture. While achieving the same error rate of 0.21, power consumption is reduced by 52%.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
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Dr. Jie Chen