Clemson University

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Spring 2019 Seminar Series

Implementing Viscosity Measurements

in Point-of-Care Diagnostics


Dr. Tamara Kinzer-Ursem

Assistant Professor

Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering
Purdue University

There is a great need to develop low-cost devices for infectious disease detection that are rapid, sensitive, and accurate. Current gold standard screening often involves fluorescence-based DNA amplification readings or antibody-based assays to confirm pathogen presence in either patient or environmental samples. We have developed an alternative method, particle diffusometry (PD), where the presence of pathogen is detected by measuring changes in solution viscosity that result from pathogen DNA amplification. We have shown that PD measurements are 10-100 times more sensitive than traditional fluorescent measurements. In this talk I will introduce the fundamentals of particle diffusometry (PD), compare PD measurements to current gold-standard measurements, and discuss our work in translating the PD technology from the lab to a portable smartphone-based detection platform, enabling detection to be done at point of care.

Tamara Kinzer-Ursem is an Assistant Professor in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. She received her B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Toledo and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and her post-doctoral training in Molecular Neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Purdue she was the Head of R&D in Biochemistry at Maven Biotechnologies and Visiting Associate in Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Kinzer-Ursem has been honored to receive numerous awards for teaching, mentoring, and research including the Willis A. Tacker Award for Outstanding Teaching from Purdue University (2014), Outstanding Engineering Graduate Student Mentor Award (2017), Mandela Fellows Global Innovation Challenge Award (2017), and the NSF CAREER Award (2018).


Research in the Kinzer-Ursem lab focuses on developing tools to advance quantitative descriptions of cellular processes and disease within three areas of expertise: 1) Using particle diffusivity measurements to quantify biomolecular processes; 2) Development of novel protein engineering technologies that enable quantitative description of protein function and elucidate disease mechanisms; and 3) Computational modeling of signal transduction mechanisms to understand cellular processes.

Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Earle Hall, 100
206 S. Palmetto Blvd., Clemson, SC 29634

Event Type



College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Research Seminars

Target Audience

All Audiences

Contact Name:

Diana Stamey

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