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.


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">

Selected as the Fellow of The Engineering Institute of Canada (加拿大工程学院院士)    (17/01/2014)

Dr Chen  It is a pleasure for me to inform you  that you have been selected to be inducted as an EIC Fellow.  For detail including past recipients see . Our 2014 award recipients will be presented at a gala banquet on Saturday, 15 March, 2014 in the Westin Hotel, 11 Colonel Bye Drive, Ottawa, Ontario. The reception will commence at 6:30 p.m. followed by the banquet at 7:30 p.m.  The dress code is business attire or black tie.   Regards  John Plant Executive Director Engineering Institute of Canada “Prosperity - Safety - Sustainability” LinkedIn: Join The EIC – ICI Group on LinkedIn

Paper was accepted in the Special Session in ISCAS 2014    (17/01/2014)

Dear Jie Chen, Congratulations ! Your paper number 2396 entitled "Biosensor Systems and Applications in Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics: a Review", has been accepted for Lecture presentation at The 2014 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems, to be held in Melbourne, Australia from June 1-5, 2014. We look forward to your participation and presentation at ISCAS 2014. Your paper has been assigned to SPECIAL SESSION: Microsystems for Biochemical Sensing Lecture session A2L-A. The full Conference schedule will be available on the ISCAS 2014 web site very soon. Be sure to check the conference web site ( often as important information is posted regularly on this site. If there are additional co-authors for this paper, please make sure to inform them of this decision. PLEASE ADHERE TO THESE REQUIREMENTS: 1. In order to guarantee inclusion in the conference program one author must be registered at the NON-STUDENT RATE by Feb 14, 2014 23:59 (GMT -0700), the author deadline.   2. Your completed IEEE copyright form must be received by Feb 14, 2014 23:59 (GMT -0700). The form and instructions can be found at 3. Your full paper in PDF format must be submitted no later than Feb 14, 2014 23:59 (GMT -0700) at this web site: Your paper must comply with the specifications outlined on the web site. Due to publication deadlines, no time exten [ ... ]

Invited Talks in Nov 2013    (27/12/2013)

(1) “Low-intensity Pulsed Ultrasound and Its Applications” by Academia Sinica (中央研究院, 台湾), the most preeminent academic institution in the Republic of China, Nov. 22, 2013 (
  (2) “Impedance-based Portable Devices for Bio-sensing” by National Tsing Hua University  (清华大学,台湾) (, Nov. 21, 2013
(3)“Ultrasound for Increasing Food and Biofuel Production", by Food Industry Research and Development Institute (   (4) “Nanotechnology in Increasing Regenerative Stem Cell Proliferation” by the 4th World Gene Convention, Hainan, China, Nov. 14, 2013
(5) "低强度脉冲超声波的生物愈合与生物燃料催化作用" by China University of Mining and Technology (, Nov. 9, 2013

Engineering stands out in technology commercialization    (01/11/2013)

Engineering stands out in technology commercialization By Richard Cairney October 29, 2013 Edmonton—Professors and graduate students from the Faculty of Engineering had a high profile at an recent event celebration technology commercialization at the University of Alberta. Electrical and Computer Engineering professors Jie Chen, Ying Tsui and Norman Beaulieu, along with Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering professors Steven Kuznicki, Jingli Luo and Sirish Shah and his former graduate student Shoukat Choudhru were honoured as patent recipients during a celebration of technology commercialization hosted by TEC Edmonton.  Chen and Tsui were honoured for their work in an interdisciplinary project with School of Dentistry professor Tarek El-Bialy. The research team has patented new ultrasound technology that promotes growth in dental tissue. The technology has been licensed to SmileSonica, a U of A spinoff company. “To be recognized in this community is great,” said Chen, who added that the interdisciplinary collaboration was sparked when he met El-Bialy at a forum for new professors several years ago. “It’s great to see a room full of researchers who are doing great work, but it’s even better when that research is turned into useful products that benefit society.” Beaulieu was honoured for his patent on channel estimators. His patented “gain estimator” technology measures amplification or negative amplification in wi [ ... ]

Ptrofessional certificate in communication    (29/10/2013)

Received professional certificate in communication skills by Trinity College London in Oct. 2013

Postdoc Fellowship Opportunities    (15/10/2013)

Here is a link to a new postdoctoral fellowship program that should appeal to postdocs who plan on going into industry. Be aware that the deadline for the first competition is coming up soon.   These fellowships have a very high salary, so there is probably going to be a lot of interest.

Our invention on youtube got over 77,000 clicks as of Oct. 2013    (11/10/2013)

Patent award:  On Oct. 10 2013, we got an award by TEC Edmonton for our contribution in developing ultrasound technique for dental tissue formation. Ultrasound has been long known to accelerate healing in bones, but ultrasound used for dental tissue formation is new. By teaming up with the dentist, Dr. El-Bialy at University of Alberta, we secured a US patent (#8,292,834) "Ultrasound stimulation devices and technqiues" in Dec. 2012. The device, in partnership with the University of Toronto, is currently in a Phase 2 clicnical trial.  The research was listed earlier by "Reader's Digest" as a major medical breakthrough in Canada in 2006. 

Poster Award    (26/09/2013)

At the conference "Biology and Synchrotron Radiation" - BSR 2013, the co-supervised Ph.D. student, Mr. Martin Niestroj, received a poster award by the International Union of Crystallography because "the poster describing the most novel use of synchrotron radiation or free-electron lasers in biology.  For details, please refer to  -- Martin Niestroj, Jie Chen, Dean Chapman, Darrell Mousseau, Brian Bewer, Nicholas Bolibruch, and Josef Hormes, “Experimental-focused radio-sensitizing studies of gold nanoparticles in the low-to-middle X-ray regime”, Biology and Synchrotron Radiation (BSR) - Hamburg/Germany September 2013

Scholarships    (26/09/2013)

Canada Graduate Scholarships - Master's Program The application deadline date for the 2014 Canada Graduate Scholarships - Master's Program is December 1, 2013. The application should be completed via the online application system, Research Portal, which will be available soon. For details about the 2014 Canada Graduate Scholarships - Master's Program please go to the website below:   2014 NSERC Doctoral Scholarships To be considered for the 2014 NSERC Doctoral Scholarships, please note the complete applications and supporting material are due in FGSR no later than 4:00 pm on Tuesday October 15, 2013.   Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement (CGS-MSFSS) The Canada Graduate Scholarship-Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement (CGS-MSFSS) Program is available to Canadian citizens or permanent residents who hold a Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) at the Master's or Doctoral level, or holders of a Vanier CGS. Supplements of up to $6,000, based on the information and budget justification provided in the application, will be awarded for a defined period of study of approximately three to six months.  The department deadline is Wednesday noon Sept 25. To be considered for nomination of CGS-MSFSS, please submit the full application to Pinder before the deadline.

“Microbubble-Enhanced Cell Membrane Permeability in High Gravity Field” by Chuan He, Quanrong Gu, Hongbo Zeng, Hao Zhang, Min Huang, Xiaoyan Yang, James Xinge and Jie Chen was accepted by Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering    (08/09/2013)

Abstract:  Cell permeability controls the transportation of extracellular materials through cell membranes, which plays a critical role in drug and gene delivery. This work reports an innovative method to enhance the cell permeability through cell-bubble interactions in a high gravity field. In the presence of microbubbles, the cell membrane permeability of mammalian cells was significantly increased in the high gravity field, and up to 80% THP-1 and 70% MCF-7 cells were permeabilized by using FITC-Dextran with average molecular weight of 40kDa and 70kDa as fluorescent markers which were found to locate in both cytoplasm and cell nucleus by using a confocal microscope. Micro-scale pores were detected on the cell membrane by a scanning electron microscope after the cell-microbubble interactions in the high gravity field. The delivery efficiency of FITC-Dextran could be further enhanced in gravity field of higher strength and in solutions with higher volume fraction of microbubbles, though the cell viability would also fall under extreme conditions. A simplified model was proposed to compare the contributions of surface forces (i.e. Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) interaction force and membrane undulation force) with hydrodynamic force associated with cell-bubble interactions in the high gravity field. The hydrodynamic force was found to dominate the cell-bubble interaction while the DLVO force and membrane undulation force only play an important role at small sepa [ ... ]

Health Solutions Collaborative Research and Innovation Opportunities (CRIO) team grant    (08/09/2013)

The researchers at the University of Alberta received a $5M team grant "Metabolomic Devices for Companion Diagnostics & Pesonalized Medicine" by Alberta Innovates -- Health Solution Collaborative Research and Innovation Opportuntities (CRIO)  2013-2018.  Dr. Jie Chen is one of the team researchers in charging of designing an impedance based nanosensor. The portable sensor interfaces with SmartPhones.

“Design and Characterization of a Close-Proximity Thermoacoustic Sensor” by Jida Xing, Michael Choi, Woon Ang, Xiaojian Yu and Jie Chen was accepted by Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology    (02/04/2013)

Abstract: Although the radiation force balance is the gold standard for measuring ultrasound intensity, it is not possible for real-time monitoring in certain settings, for example bioreactors, or in clinic to measure ultrasound intensities during treatment. Foreseeing these needs, we have proposed a close-proximity thermoacoustic sensor. In this article, the design, characterization, testing, and implementation of such a sensor is presented. A plexiglass sensor with a 20 mm diameter, and a 2 mm long absorber was designed and tested against low intensity pulsed ultrasound generated at  a 1.5 MHz frequency, 20% duty cycle, 1 kHz pulse repetition frequency, and intensities between 30 and 120 mW/cm2. The sensor captures the beam, converts the ultrasound power into heat, and indirectly measures the spatial average time average ultrasound intensity (Isata) by dividing the calculated power by the beam-cross-section (or the nominal area of the transducers). A thin copper sheet was adhered to the back face of the sensor to increase heat diffusivity 1000-fold, enabling a uniform temperature distribution across the back face. An embedded system design was implemented using an Atmel microcontroller programmed with a least squares algorithm to fit measured temperature vs. time data to a model describing the temperature rise averaged across the backside of the sensor in relation to the applied ultrasound intensity. After calibrating the sensor to the transducer being measured, the t [ ... ]

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Dr. Jie Chen