Umut Gurkan, Ph.D.

Micro-electrophoresis Platform for Point-Of-Care Screening of Sickle Cell Disease in Newborns

50-80% of the babies born with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) in low-resource countries die before the age of 5 due to lack of diagnosis. The World Health Organization estimates that at least 70% of these deaths are preventable with simple, cost-efficient interventions, such as early diagnosis by newborn screening followed by standard treatment and care. To address this unmet need, we developed a new point-of-care (POC) HemeChip technology to screen newborns for SCD. HemeChip is POC translation of the electrophoresis method, which is a current standard in SCD screening. HemeChip technology promises to break the diagnostic barrier in low-resource settings, by providing an affordable, robust, easy-to-use, POC platform for newborn screening of SCD and other hemoglobin disorders. In this talk, I will present the results of our clinical validation studies in Cleveland, OH, in Oakland, CA, and will provide an overview of our upcoming field testing in Sub-Saharan Africa.



Umut Gurkan, PhD
Assistant Professor
Glennan Fellow
Case Biomanufacturing and Microfabrication Laboratory
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Biomedical Engineering
Case Western Reserve University (CWRU)
Cleveland, OH

Dr. Gurkan holds a PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering from Purdue University. He completed his postdoctoral training in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology after which he joined CWRU as Assistant Professor. Dr. Gurkan is leading the CASE Biomanufacturing and Microfabrication Laboratory (CASE-BML). CASE-BML’s mission is to improve human health and quality of life by a fundamental understanding of cell biomechanics, and through innovations in micro/nano-engineering, microfluidics, biosensors, and point-of-care systems.  Dr. Gurkan has received national and international recognitions and awards for research and education, including, (1) NSF CAREER Award, (2) “Rising Star” Award from Biomedical Engineering Society (Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering and Advanced Biomanufacturing Divisions), (3) MIT Technology Review Innovator Under 35 Award (Turkey), (4) Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership Award, (5) Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative Award, (6) Case School of Engineering Research Award, (7) Doris Duke Innovations in Clinical Research Award, (8) Belcher-Weir Family Pediatric Innovation Award, and (9) Glennan Fellowship from the University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education. Dr. Gurkan has authored over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, numerous book chapters and patents.