NYU Tandon scientists and Brooklyn Biotech, Mirimus, team up for producing new wearable health microchips

Elisa Riedo and Davood Shahrjerdi

Elisa Riedo (left) and Davood Shahrjerdi (right) are working with Brooklyn biotech company Mirimus to develop microchips capable of diagnosing a range of diseases, including COVID-19.

BROOKLYN, New York, Monday, August 8, 2022 — Imagine sometime in the future, you wake up with a tickle in your throat and a stuffy nose. Your first thought might be a twinge of fear — maybe it’s something more serious than a cold, or a contagious disease. But before you call out of work or cancel plans, you might as well check. So you cough into the band of your smart watch. Shortly after, you get your results: negative for Covid, negative for flu, negative for anything nastier than seasonal allergies.

Thanks to a partnership between Tandon’s researchers and Brooklyn biotech company Mirimus, what seems like science fiction is closer than you might think.

The research is led by Elisa Riedo, NYU Prof. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Davood Shahrjerdi, NYU Associate Prof. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Dr. Giuseppe Maria de Peppo, Director of Internal Research at Mirimus, Inc. 

Riedo and Shahrjerdi started this partnership with Mirimus at the beginning of this year. Mirimus is a local Brooklyn health biotech company making waves in the medical testing field. The company was established in 2010 by co-founder and CEO Dr. Prem Premsrirut with the goal of advancing RNA interference technology, then a powerful research tool for target screening and gene silencing in animal models, to the clinic as a novel therapeutic approach to treat human disease. In 2020, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, they developed an affordable, and non-invasive testing methodology. The test, SalivaClear, was one of the winners of the XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing competition

Riedo is particularly well known for her pioneering work on thermal scanning probe lithography (tSPL), an innovative method to nanofabricate devices and materials with molecular resolution using a heated “nano-chisel.” Recent work in collaboration with Shahrjerdi and de Peppo shows that tSPL can be used for fabricating state of the art electronic circuits with atomically thin materials, as well as to sculpt, in a biocompatible material, the exact structure of bone tissue, with features smaller than the size of a single protein — a billion times smaller than a meter. 

Shahrjerdi’s research focuses on the study of new electronic materials and devices for making nano-engineered integrated systems. Previously, his research led to a new way of enhancing the performance of electrochemical microsensors used in biochemistry for the detection of biomolecules, such as dopamine, at lower concentrations than was previously possible. 

de Peppo has been working for more than a decade in the field of stem cells and tissue engineering, being the first to engineer functional bone grafts from skin cells via a process referred to as cell reprogramming. Additional work includes the development of new orthopedic implants and biomaterials, the design and validation of bioreactor systems for lab-on-a-chip applications, and stem cell-based therapy.

The team’s unique combination of expertise in nanoelectronics, nanofabrication and biomedical research makes this team a natural fit for this incredible and exciting challenge. 

Now, this new partnership may result in a small, affordable device that can go beyond just testing for COVID-19 and serve as a prototype for an electronic microchip that can be embedded in your watch or smart band, and capable of monitoring a variety of human health threats — resulting in healthier workplaces and communities, and putting you at ease on those days when you wake up feeling a little under the weather.

About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute. A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences as part of a global university, with close connections to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. NYU Tandon is rooted in a vibrant tradition of entrepreneurship, intellectual curiosity, and innovative solutions to humanity’s most pressing global challenges. Research at Tandon focuses on vital intersections between communications/IT, cybersecurity, and data science/AI/robotics systems and tools and critical areas of society that they influence, including emerging media, health, sustainability, and urban living. We believe diversity is integral to excellence, and are creating a vibrant, inclusive, and equitable environment for all of our students, faculty and staff. For more information, visit engineering.nyu.edu.