Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Cancer, Immunoassays, Microfluidics, Ink-jet Printing

Major Advisor

Dr. James Rusling

Associate Advisor

Dr. Mark Peczuh

Associate Advisor

Dr. Bernard Munge

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Time is measured as a moment, hour, day or year as indicated by a clock or calendar. To someone facing cancer it seems to count backwards from a date determined by an incurable disease. Even with the advances in research and technology cancer is still a leading cause of death in the United States as no cure exists. Biomedical research is constantly struggling with cancer detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Currently, cancer detection is expensive, diagnoses are sometimes erroneous, treatment is invasive, and prevention is a challenge.

The primary goal of the cancer detection is to develop simple non-invasive tests that indicate cancer risk, allow early cancer detection, classify tumors so that the patient can receive the most appropriate therapy and monitor disease progression, regression and recurrence. Currently, cancer is often diagnosed though imaging technologies or through invasive procedures often after the cancer has formed a sizable tumor, or already metastasized. Methods that rely on measurements of alterations or abnormalities in certain protein concentrations are promising alternatives for diagnosis and improving patient care. Since significant interpersonal variation of single protein expression levels are often observed in patients within a given disease, simultaneous measurement of a collection of protein biomarkers may help to lead to more accurate and early diagnosis and offer more insights to the disease state and characteristics, thereby potentially improving patient care.

The objectives of this thesis are to develop protein sensors that are inexpensive, sensitive, rapid, use minimal sample volume, have multiplex capabilities, and are technically simple to use for applications with real cancer patient samples in a point-of-care setting. Such methods may make cancer diagnoses possible without locating the tumor, or even before a tumor has formed.