Portable Electrothermal Analyzer Invented by Two SIUE Faculty Members

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A prototype developed by two Southern Illinois University Edwardsville faculty members will allow clinical samples to be tested for toxic heavy metals, like mercury and lead.

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Inexpensive instrumentation will generate a wide variety of analysis and teaching opportunities.

A prototype developed by two Southern Illinois University Edwardsville faculty members will allow clinical samples to be tested for toxic heavy metals, like mercury and lead.

The portable electrothermal analyzer was showcased recently at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Technology and Innovation Expo Fall 2010. SIUE Associate Professor Brad Noble from the department of electrical and computer engineering and SIUE Assistant Professor Edward Navarre from the department of chemistry collaborated to produce the inexpensive, portable device, which will be used for clinical applications such as blood and urine testing.

“The target cost of the completed instrument is less than $10,000, which is several times less expensive than most commercial instruments,” Navarre said. “Inexpensive instrumentation will generate a wide variety of analysis and teaching opportunities.”

Navarre continued that his collaborative work with Noble was inspired by the need to improve the timeliness of testing and implementation of treatment efforts to combat blood poisoning from lead and other toxic metals. The instrument will have national and international significance, Navarre said, adding that the device will allow more people to be tested, as well as reduce the cost of testing.

“We are trying to automate blood analysis so that the test operator doesn’t need as much training to get viable results,” he said.

Unlike traditional elemental analyzers, which are limited to laboratory environments and require highly skilled operators, the device can function in areas where traditional instruments cannot be used due to lack of sophisticated laboratories, funding or infrastructure.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is a nationally recognized public university offering a broad choice of degrees and programs ranging from career-oriented fields of study to the essential, more traditional, liberal arts. At SIUE we offer 44 baccalaureate degrees, 13 post-baccalaureate certificates, 47 master's degrees, 11 post-master's certificates, two first-professional degrees, and one post-first professional certificate.

Known for an emphasis in health science education, SIUE offers a nursing school, pharmacy school and dental school. Additionally, undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates are available through the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, the School of Business, and the School of Education.

The SIUE School of Business is among an elite 5 percent of business schools worldwide that have earned prestigious accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). The accounting program at SIUE also has AACSB accreditation, among only 11 percent of business schools in the United States and Canada to hold that distinction.

One of 12 Illinois colleges and universities, SIUE is located on 2,600 acres of rolling hills and woodlands in Edwardsville, just 25 miles from St. Louis, a major metropolitan area. Proximity to the St. Louis area enhances SIUE’s energy and vitality. The campus is easily accessed from several major interstates, while the city of Edwardsville offers ample opportunity for jobs, entertainment, shopping and fun.

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Bethany Forsythe
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
618-650-3653
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