Available Technologies

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Disposable cassette to purify nucleic acids from biological samples for point-of-care diagnostics

Isothermal nucleic acid amplification reactor with integrated solid state membrane


Technology Overview: 

Researchers in the Bau Lab have developed a disposable microfluidic cassette with an integrated porous extraction flow-through membrane for purifying and concentrating nucleic acids from biological samples. 

  • The membrane allows decoupling the sample volume from the reaction volume, enabling relatively large samples to achieve high sensitivity, much greater than is typical for point of care devices.
  • The purification step ensures that inhibitors that could interfere with nucleic acid amplification are removed from the sample. 
  • An external filament allows for temperature control of the isothermal LAMP-based (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) reaction. 

Products can be detected by monitoring the reaction in real-time with a portable fluorescent reader, a smartphone camera, or visually when a colorimetric dye is used. The utility of the device has been demonstrated by detecting the presence of HIV-1 in oral fluids with a limit of detection of 10 HIV particles.



From Liu et al, 2011.  In (A), a photograph of the single-chamber microfluidic cassette with an integrated membrane.  In (B), the cassette holder is equipped with a thin film heater, a thermocouple, and a seat for the detector.  The fluorescent signal is excited and detected with the portable ESE optical detector in the inset.



  • High detection sensitivity
  • Decoupling sample volume from reaction volume
  • Portable, cost-effective device
  • Readily adaptable to purify nucleic acids from pathogens in food, water, and bodily fluids
  • Streamlined identification of genetic identity
  • Integration of LAMP with sample-to-assay device
  • Rapid detection of reaction products without need for thermocycler or expensive lab equipment


  • Point-of-care diagnostics
  • Environmental sample testing to monitor level of pathogens in food and water supplies
  • Monitor level of infection in individuals


Stage of Development: 

Proof-of-concept testing with HIV detection in non-clinical samples; prototype constructed


Intellectual Property: 

USSN 9,476,102 


Reference Media: 

Desired Partnerships: 

  • License
  • Co-development


Docket # X5677


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Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Joshua Jeanson
Associate Director, SEAS/SAS Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania
Haim Bau