Fan Research Lab Opportunity

project title

Device Development for Pathogen Detection at the Point-of-Care

Group photograph of Dr. Fan and his lab.

Infectious diseases are a global public health problem, evidenced from the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It is highly desirable to have a device that can detect viruses for transmission control and differentiate various viruses for disease-specific clinical care. To meet the need, the objective of this project is to develop a rapid and cost-effective platform for detecting pathogens at the point of care. The platform will disintegrate pathogens (i.e., lysis) and perform isothermal amplification of enriched nucleic acids, followed by colorimetric detection by naked eye or a smartphone camera. Innovation is needed in the device miniaturization, sequential reagent delivery, and operation in the field without power and laboratory equipment. The project is a part of the lab’s efforts on microfluidics, which is an interdisciplinary field involving engineering, sciences, and medicine.

This project is experimentally focused. The student will be trained to fabricate devices, including 3D printing, lamination, and integration. The devices will then be tested by the student while being trained on valving control, assays, and detection. Various detection schemes and conditions will be investigated, and their effects on detection sensitivities will be studied. The student is encouraged to test their own ideas after training and understanding the challenges associated with the project.

Profile Image of Dr. Z. Hugh Fan.


Dr. Z. Hugh Fan

Dr. Z. Hugh Fan is a professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the college of engineering.

Additional Details

Student Level

Undergraduate & Graduate Students

The lab is open to undergraduate and graduate students during the spring, summer and fall semesters.

Academic Year

Junior & Up

The lab is looking for volunteers that are a junior or further along in their academic career.


Minimum 3.5 GPA

All volunteers must have a 3.5 GPA or higher.

Time Commitment

8-10 hours a week

Volunteers are eligible to work up to 10 hours a week.


On Campus

Research will be performed on the University of Florida main campus.

Semesters Available

Spring, Summer, Fall

The lab is open to volunteers each semester of the academic year.


Research Credit/Paid

All volunteers are eligible for research or academic credit. If there is lab funding available, then there may be opportunity for payment in the future.


Possible Co-Authorship

Volunteers have the opportunity to earn co-authorship in a paper.