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Molecular scale biocomputing : an enzyme logic approach


The rapid and reliable detection of injury, particularly in battlefield conditions, remains a fundamental challenge in emergency medicine. Furthermore, injuries that cause internal bleeding, especially in circumstances when the affected individual fails to exhibit outward signs of this life-threatening condition, are particularly difficult to identify. These situations have illustrated the need for advanced diagnostic measures to assess injuries to the soft tissues with a high degree of accuracy. Commonplace approaches have been directed at sophisticated diagnostic equipment for the detection of these conditions such as magnetic resonance imaging and electromyography. However, these tools are costly, time-consuming, and a challenge to operate in the field during which the delivery of an immediate therapeutic intervention is crucial. In situations where such imaging equipment or laboratory tests are not available or cannot deliver results in a timely fashion, the diagnosis is typically administered by a medical professional upon thorough physical examination. Unfortunately, owing to the complex pathophysiology of many injuries, this approach has frequently resulted in misdiagnoses that have resulted in unnecessary treatments, thereby encumbering the healthcare provider and placing an additional burden upon the patient. Effective diagnostic tools that enable the rapid administration of a targeted treatment would offer great promise for improving the prognosis of injury, particularly in battlefield conditions. Recent research endeavors in the biochemical computing arena have resulted in the demonstration of sophisticated enzyme-based cascades that leverage Boolean principles to emulate electronic logic gates in the biochemical domain. Such enzyme-based logic gates possess the unique ability to integrate complex patterns of bio-/ chemical inputs and tender a diagnosis in a straightforward binary '0'/'1' or 'NO'/'YES' format. This dissertation explores the manner in which such advanced diagnostic systems can be engineered and leveraged to achieve useful aims in the diagnosis (and eventual treatment) of injury in an autonomous fashion, thereby leading towards the development of an integrated 'Sense- Act-Treat' field 'hospital-on-a-chip' system. The systems presented in this work are evaluated at their physical limits under utilitarian embodiments and are hence shown to be of practical importance in the healthcare, fitness, security, and environmental monitoring domains

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