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.

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.


An Impedance Detection Circuit for Applications in a Portable Biosensor System    (01/02/2016)

An Impedance Detection Circuit for Applications in a Portable Biosensor System (Accepted for the coming International Symposium on Circuits and Systems 2016 ( Abstract— As the world’s population ages, healthcare costs become heavy burdens worldwide. Portable point-of-care diagnostic devices, such as glucose meters, can significantly reduce the costs associated with patient care. There are many of small biological molecules present in biological samples which are of interest in healthcare applications. In this paper, a simple low-cost impedance detection circuit has been designed to detect different biomolecules such as DNA, proteins and other metabolites. In particular, the impedance across an electrode will change due to the binding of target biomolecules and gold nanoparticles.  Experimental results show that the device can measure impedance changes with accuracy in the range of ±3%. (Full Paper)

Implementation of Efficient Parallel Discrete Cosine Transform Using Stochastic Logic    (22/01/2016)

Implementation of Efficient Parallel Discrete Cosine Transform Using Stochastic Logic
This paper is accepted for the coming International Symposium on Circuits and Systems 2016 (
 Abstract—This paper provides a new scheme for the VLSI implementation of a parallel Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) using stochastic logic. Stochastic computation is a number representation, which can carry out complex computations with very low hardware cost. However, the delay of data output is proportional to the length of serial sequence. We provide a new area-saving parallel DCT design to improve the system throughput by using our proposed stochastic OR-adder and OR-AND-adder. Results show the proposed parallel stochastic DCT can meet the requirement of image processing while maintaining a 5% performance difference compared to the traditional DCT implementation. Our synthesized chip design using the TSMC CMOS 130nm technology also shows that the proposed parallel stochastic DCT is at least 10 times more efficient in area and delay than that of the traditional DCT and the serial stochastic DCT. (Full paper).

Area-Efficient Partial-Clique-Energy MRF Pair Design with Ultra-Low Supply Voltage    (22/01/2016)

Area-Efficient Partial-Clique-Energy MRF Pair Design with Ultra-Low Supply Voltage
This paper is accepted for the coming International Symposium on Circuits and Systems 2016 (
 Abstract—As the size of CMOS devices continues to scale down, the reliability of circuits becomes one of main challenges in low supply voltage designs. Markov Random Field (MRF) circuits, a probabilistic-based approach, can achieve higher noise immunity compared to traditional designs under conditions of ultra-low supply voltage and low threshold voltage. However, the basic MRF elements have complex structures and become a stringent factor that limits MRF-based VLSI design. In this paper, we provide a partial-clique-energy MRF (PMRF) design method, trading off the noise immunity for area efficiency. We then propose an Enhanced PMRF (EPMRF)-pair for multi-level and multi-function joint PMRF designs. The main idea is to use the joint clique energy of two complementary partial clique energies to make up performance losses. The measurement results show that, the proposed EPMRF pair can operate at 0.25 V with 10-4 dB output noise power with 5.6 dB input signal-noise ratio (SNR). With the 130 nm CMOS technology, the chip of our EPMRF based carrylook-ahead adder achieves 29% area-saving and 55% energysaving compared to existing ultra-low supply voltage fault tolerant designs.   (Full paper).  

Letter of Congratulation from the President of the Fudan University    (14/01/2016)


IEEE Fellow    (07/12/2015)

ECE alumnus Jie Chen was elevated to Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The highest grade of membership, IEEE Fellow, is attained through nomination by peers and approval by the IEEE Board of Directors for distinction in the profession. Chen was recognized for contributions to low-power and biomedical ultrasound circuits and devices. He was advised by Christine Kim Eminent Professor K. J. Ray Liu at the University of Maryland. Chen graduated with both his M.S. and Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, completing his studies in 1998. IEEE is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities. There are more than 425,000 IEEE members in over 160 countries around the world. IEEE members are engineers, scientists, and allied professionals whose technical interests are rooted in electrical and computer sciences, engineering, and related disciplines. Chen is professor of Electrical Engineering and an adjunct professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, AB, Canada. He is also a research officer at the National Research Council/National Institute for Nanotechnology, Canada. Dr. Chen is a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of [ ... ]

Dr. Jie Chen was invited to give a Feature Presentation at "Engineering Expo 2015”     (02/10/2015)

(pleases refer to Bringing Star Trek medical technology to your basic home firstaid kit Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Jie Chen shows off a working model of a medical sensor that will conduct a suite of medical tests from your own home. Chen is speaking during Engineering Expo running 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 26, at the Engineering Teaching and Learning Complex. (Edmonton) Imagine the time, money, and lives that could be saved if we could use handheld technology that would quickly analyse our health and alert us to illnesses and disease. With the rise of sensors and new electronic devices to measure personal health, more advanced home health technology is on the horizon. You can learn more about what’s going on at the leading edge of research into this technology at Engineering Expo Sept. 26. Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Jie Chen is delivering a free talk on the subject. Entitled Turning your smart phone into a tricorder, the talk will focus on Chen’s research. He is developing a device that will be on par with the tricorder device made popular in Star Trek. Chen is developing a noninvasive handheld biosensor with a touchscreen that can be used by patients or physicians at home, on the go, or in the clinic to, in a matter of minutes, diagnose, monitor, and predict various health conditions including 50 plus common diseases that afflict more than 30 per cent of [ ... ]

Design of a Thermoacoustic Sensor for Low Intensity Ultrasound Measurements Based on an Artificial Neural Network    (19/08/2015)

By Jida Xing and Jie Chen  Was published in Sensors, 2015  "A novel two-layer thermoacoustic sensor based on an artificial neural network is described and investigated in this paper. The structure design improvement enables the sensor to reduce its measurement time from 20 s to 12 s. The artificial neural network algorithm is integrated in order to compensate for the influence of the temperature drifts, adapting the sensor for a range of ambient temperatures, and providing an accurate and consistent measurement of the ultrasound intensities. The experimental result show that the compensation provided by the artificial neural network reduced the temperature drift errors from more than 15% to 1%. The final results show that the new sensor achieves an average error of 1.31mW/cm2 over 18 measurement samples. The new sensor design is a low-cost alternative method that can provide rapid ultrasound intensity measurements without any complex set-up procedure. Although the radiation force balance is the golden standard method with minimal measurement error, the application of the technique is limited by the requirements of experience in regards to equipment set-up and operation. In addition, measurement accuracy is affected by background vibrations, which in turn limits its application in biology laboratories. The new thermoacoustic sensor design is an easy-to-operate alternative method for rapidly measuring low ultrasound intens [ ... ]

Killam Professorship    (22/06/2015)

(Edmonton) Jie Chen was thrilled to be named one of five University of Alberta recipients of a 2015 Killam Annual Professorship—less because of the personal recognition, and more because of the opportunities it opens up. “This recognition can bring me to the next level of excellence,” he said. A Killam can help open doors to further research collaborations, international awards, and funding opportunities, observed Chen. He takes particular pride in the fact that the Killam reflects all aspects of professorship. “The Killam Professorship is like a triathlon,” he said, “because it looks at your teaching, your research, and your community service.” The award represents a validation of Chen’s decision a decade ago to leave an Ivy League posting at Brown University for a fresh start at the U of A. “At the time, I was looking to work in a more multi-disciplinary area—more towards biomedical,” he said. “The National Research Council and its National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT—a world-class research facility operated jointly by the U of A and the NRC) were recruiting people worldwide.” The opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration began virtually the moment Chen arrived on campus. At an introductory workshop, Chen and other new faculty members were exploring ways to motivate students to study subjects they don’t like. “One of the other professors said, ‘I hate circuit design.’ So I stood up in front of my peers, an [ ... ]

Jie Chen will host a minisympsia and an invited session in coming EMBC'2015    (10/06/2015)

Jie Chen has proposed a minisympsia and an invited session in coming    37TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society MiCo - Milano Conference Center - Milan, Italy, August 25-29 2015  *The proposed sessions have been approved.
 TITLE: Diagnostic and Therapeutic Circuits and Systems (invited session) 1. Nitish V. Thakor from John Hopkins University will present the state of the art, novel technology and early experimental results to demonstrate progress towards peripheral nerve/muscle interface to the upper limb to achieve control of a dexterous prosthetic hand. 2. Mohamad Sawan from Polytechnique Montreal will present their finding in the interactions between parameters of the constant-current, biphasic square waveform with the intention of developing a stimulation efficient strategy. 3. Jie Chen from Univeristy of Alberta will present a pulsed wave device to increase hepatitis B vaccine production. The novelty is in its frequency (1.5MHz) and duty cycle (20%) of the pulsed wave design.  4. Wei Tang from New Mexico State University will present a 3Dprinted wearable backpack that allows chronic electrical stimulation of aquatic teleost fish. 5. Pedram Mohseni from Case Western Reserve University will present their current progress towards developing a miniaturized brain-machine-spinal cord interface that converts in real time the neural command signals recorded from the brain to electrical [ ... ]

"Low-intensity Pulsed Ultrasound for Stimulating Algal Oil Production" was accetped    (15/03/2015)

"Low-intensity Pulsed Ultrasound for Stimulating Algal Oil Production" was accetped by 5th International Conference on Algal Biomass, Biofuels and Bioproducts, San Diego, USA, June 7-10, 2015

Appointed as an Associate Editor    (15/03/2015)

Appointed as an Associate Editor of Springer Journal of Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing in January 2015

US patent issued    (15/03/2015)

"Enhanced Animal Cell Growth Using Ultrasound", US patent, 8962290 B2 was issued Feb. 24, 2015

Treating Cancer Stem Cells and Cancer Metastasis Using Glucose-coated Gold Nanoparticles    (24/01/2015)

 "Treating Cancer Stem Cells and Cancer Metastasis Using Glucose-coated Gold Nanoparticles", to be for published in International Journal of Nanomedicine. Abstract:  Cancer ranks among the leading causes of human mortality. Cancer becomes intractable when it spreads from the primary tumor site to various organs (such as bone, lung, liver, and brain). Unlike solid tumor cells, cancer stem cells and metastatic cancer cells grow in a non-attached (suspension) form when moving from their source to other locations in the body. Due to the nature of non-attached growth, metastasis is often first detected in the circulatory systems, for instance in a lymph node near the primary tumor. Cancer research over the past several decades has primarily focused on treating solid tumors, but targeted therapy to treat cancer stem cells and cancer metastasis has yet to be developed. Because cancers undergo faster metabolism and consume more glucose than normal cells, glucose was chosen in this study as a reagent to target cancer cells. In particular, by covalently binding gold nanoparticles (GNPs) with thio-PEG (Polyethylene glycol) and thio-glucose, the resulting functionalized GNPs (Glu-GNPs) were created for targeted treatment of cancer metastasis and cancer stem cells. Suspension cancer cell THP-1 (human monocytic cell line derived from acute monocytic leukemia patients) was selected because it has properties similar to cancer stem cells and has been used as a metastatic cance [ ... ]

invited talk at Cambridge Healthtech Institute's 14th Annual PEPTALK     (24/01/2015)

Invited to give a talk "Increase Monoclonal Antibody Production Using Low-Intensity Pulsed Ultrasound" in 14th Annual PEPTALK, January 19-23, 2015 in San Diego. The conference was organized by Cambridge Healthtech Institute.   Asked to chair the session "CHO cells -- Improving Production and Product Quality"

Guest editing a special issue for IEEE Symposium on Circuits and Systems 2014    (07/11/2014)

Guest editing a special issue for IEEE Transaction on Biomedical Circuits and Systems.  The papers are the selected paeprs from IEEE Symposium on Circuits and Systems 2014. The other two guest editors are Viktor Gruev from Washington University in St. Louis, USA and Guoxing Wang from Shanghai Jiaotong University, China. 

Invited talk at Washington University, St. Louis    (10/10/2014)

In Sept. 2014,  Dr. Chen was invited to give a talk " Pulsed-Wave Technology for Tissue Engineering, Cell Therapy and Renewable Biofuel" at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis

Applications of Low-intensity Pulsed Ultrasound to Increase Monoclonal Antibody Production inCHO Cells Using Shake Flasks or Wavebags    (10/05/2014)

Article title: Applications of Low-intensity Pulsed Ultrasound to Increase Monoclonal Antibody Production inCHO CellsUsing Shake Flasks or Wavebags Reference: ULTRAS4826 Journal title: Ultrasonics Corresponding author: Prof. Jie Chen First author: Dr. Yupeng Zhao Accepted manuscript (unedited version) available online: 9-MAY-2014 DOI information: 10.1016/j.ultras.2014.04.025 Dear Prof. Chen, We are pleased to inform you that your accepted manuscript (unformatted and unedited PDF) is now available online at: You might like to bookmark this permanent URL to your article. Please note access to the full text of this article will depend on your personal or institutional entitlements. This version of your article has already been made available at this early stage to provide the fastest access to your article. It is not intended to be the final version of your article. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof before it is published in its final form. Please note changes to the article should not be requested at this stage. Your article can already be cited using the year of online availability and the DOI as follows: Author(s), Article Title, Journal (Year), DOI. Once the full bibliographic details (including volume and page numbering) for citation purposes are available, you will be alerted by e-mail. To track the status of your article throughout [ ... ]

Guest edited an '-OMICS' special issue for IEEE Transaction on Biomedical Circuits and Systems     (27/04/2014)

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON BIOMEDICAL CIRCUITS AND SYSTEMS February 2014 Vol. 8 No. 1 ITBCCW (ISSN 1932-4545) TABLE OF CONTENT '-OMICS' SPECIAL ISSUE Guest Editors: Jie Chen, Shankar Subramaniam, D. Wishart and S. Wong Guest Editorial—Special Issue on '-Omics' Based Companion Diagnostics for Personalized Medicine Chen, J. ; Subramaniam, S. ; Wishart, D. ; Wong, S. Biomedical Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on Volume: 8 , Issue: 1 Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/TBCAS.2014.2308993;arnumber=6777634&tag=1 Developing Trends in Aptamer-Based Biosensor Devices and Their Applications t, D. ; Xing, J.Z. ; Jie Chen Biomedical Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on Volume: 8 , Issue: 1 Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/TBCAS.2014.2304718 Publication Year: 2014 , Page(s): 4 – 14;arnumber=6744673&searchWithin%3Dp_Publication_Title%3Atransaction+on+biomedical++circuits+and+systems%26searchWithin%3Dp_Volume%3A8%26searchWithin%3Dp_Issue%3A1 A Surface-Stress-Based Microcantilever Aptasensor Yang Choon Lim ; Kouzani, A.Z. ; Wei Duan ; Dai, X.J. ;Kaynak, A. ; Mair, D. Biomedical Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on Volume: 8 , Issue: 1 Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/TBCAS.2013.2286255 Publication Year: 2014 , Page(s): 15 - 24;arnumber=6702518&searchWithin% [ ... ]

March 15, 2014 The Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC) Fellow Award Ceremony    (24/03/2014)

Click the link above to see the certificate of the Institute of Engineering Canada 

IEEE TBIOCAS paper was accepted    (24/01/2014)

24-Jan-2014 Dear Prof. Chen: It will be our pleasure to accept your manuscript entitled "Developing Trends in Aptamer-based Biosensor Devices and Their Applications" for publication in the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems. Thank you for your fine contribution.  On behalf of the Editors of the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems, we look forward to seeing your manuscript enter production, and to receiving your future submissions of your latest and greatest work to the Transactions. Sincerely, Dr. Gert Cauwenberghs Editor in Chief, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems">

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Dr. Jie Chen