Fundamental interactions the key to sensors
Omowunmi Sadik has discovered many things in life, perhaps none more important than the value of challenging traditional perspectives in order to find new solutions to old problems.
Currently, her groundbreaking research focuses on microelectrode biosensors that are able to detect even trace amounts of organic materials. The many applications for this technology include drug detection (in the place of drug-sniffing dogs) and bomb detection. She is also exploring a patent strategy for another technology that would provide an improved approach for recycling metal ions from industrial and environmental wastes.
How has she done this? By going back to the basics. Sensors have traditionally been developed by focusing on the specific substance or “analyte” they are meant to detect, without paying much attention to the mechanism or processes involved. Sadik instead studies the fundamental interactions between the sensor and the analyzed compounds.
Holder of two patents for her work on a sensor that allows doctors to take readings for the HIV virus in minutes rather than the three to four days required by the ELISHA test, Sadik also helps to move “field testing” out of the laboratory and into the field and has become a watershed in the discipline of environmental monitoring.