Pittcon 2018 – Designing First Generation Nanobots for Food Safety via Phage Engineering

18 Dec 2017
Emily Adam

Dr. Sam Nugen, Associate Professor of Food & Biosystems Engineering, Dept. of Food Science at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, USA, will be presenting at Pittcon 2018, in Orlando, USA, next February. Nugen previously worked in the food industry as a research engineer prior to returning to Cornell for his doctorate. His first faculty position was at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, then in the summer of 2016, he returned to Cornell and set up his lab. In this interview, SelectScience® finds out more about Nugen’s research on food and water safety, and about why he’ll be attending Pittcon.

SS: Describe your work on portable biosensors and explain the importance of this research

My lab focuses on low-cost diagnostics for food and water safety. While many of us take our access to safe food and drinking water for granted, a large portion of the world lack these necessities. We are developing biosensors with an emphasis on low cost and sensitivity. Given the regulatory requirements for food and water testing, we typically are required to test large sample sizes, such as 100 mL of drinking water. Therefore, the true bottleneck for rapid testing is the separation and concentration of bacteria from the sample matrix. In order to develop a pragmatic approach, we have been working on technologies which incorporate these steps prior to a final detection assay.