NOVA FCT Students Win SensUs 2023 International Competition


NOVA FCT's MakeSensing Team achieved first place in the "Analytical Performance" category during the SensUs 2023 international competition, which concluded on August 31st at the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

Competing against 14 teams from several countries, including Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, the team of NOVA FCT students secured victory with their proposal for a biosensor designed to rapidly detect the severity of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

TBI affects approximately 1.5 million individuals in Europe each year, ranging from mild to severe cases. Among all emergency room admissions, 90 percent are mild cases, which currently necessitate expensive CT scans, costing around €2,000 each.

The proposed biosensor will assess the severity of TBI using just a drop of the patient's blood, eliminating the need for costly medical procedures in cases of mild TBI. Furthermore, this fast biosensor can be used to reduce expenses, to decrease the involvement of medical staff, and to enhance the comfort of the majority of TBI patients.

The MakeSensing team comprises the following students: Ricardo Mafra (captain), Diogo Martins (co-captain), David Alves, Matilde Abreu, and Tomás Mingates from the MSc in Micro and Nanotechnology Engineering program; André Luís, Chiara La Guidara, Mariana Resende, Nuno Ferreira, and Simão Caracho from the MSc in Biotechnology program; Beatriz Nobre and Lara Gonçalves from the MSc in Biomaterials and Nanomedicine program; and Sofia Ribeiro from the MSc in Biomedical Engineering program.

NOVA FCT professors Ricardo Franco (DQ/UCIBIO/I4HB) and Rui Igreja (DCM/CENIMAT/I3N) mentored the MakeSensing team, supervising the development of the biosensor model in their laboratories with the assistance of Master Tomás Pinheiro.

MakeSensing was supported by CENIMAT|i3N and UCBIO|i4HB research centers, where the laboratory prototype was designed. The NOVA FCT ´s Chemistry Department and Materials Science Department provided funding for participation in the competition, and the company LaborSpirit generously donated consumables and reagents essential for assembling the prototype.