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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Bioaffinity-Based Methods for Forensic, Biometric, and Clinical Purposes
by Hair, Mindy, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2020, 123; 27834677
Abstract (Summary)

Biomarker analysis is a well-established discipline that involves the evaluation of biological samples for the presence of various substances indicative of personal attributes or illnesses. Sweat is one example of a biological fluid that is often overlooked for forensic and clinical analyses, even though it can contain DNA, various amino acids, and other low molecular weight compounds.1–3 The work presented in this dissertation focuses on the use of bioaffinity-based assays to quantify biomarkers in sweat for both forensic and clinical applications. The concentration of the biochemical content within an individual’s sweat are controlled by hormone-based metabolic pathways4 that fluctuate daily based on factors such as age, biological sex, diet, and activity levels. Due to these factors, the biochemical content of sweat is specific to one individual at a given time and can be utilized to obtain valuable information about a person’s physical state or even identity.

Sweat may be considered difficult to detect at a crime scene, however, our research laboratory has previously demonstrated that sweat can be distinguished from other bodily fluids based on the presence of lactate.5 Additionally, the human body contains several million sweat glands that are continuously excreting fluids, making it likely that individuals are leaving a trail of trace amounts of sweat as they travel from location to location and touch various objects or surfaces.

The initial focus of this dissertation is to provide a new purpose for sweat analysis at crime scenes. Although the field of forensic science has developed rapidly over the years, the investigation processes are lengthy and majority of the routinely used forensic science techniques require proper sample collection at the crime scene followed by transportation to a laboratory facility before performing any informative analyses. The research presented here addresses this situation by introducing the use of bioaffinity-based assays for quick and straightforward analyses of sweat capable of providing investigators enough information to carry on the investigation while awaiting further confirmatory forensic analyses, such as DNA analysis. Specifically, unique metabolic sweat profiles can be created for each individual to aid in the determination of how many people were involved in the crime.

The added information obtained could potentially speed up investigations and decrease the need for DNA testing. Reducing the demand for DNA testing will also allow for laboratories nationwide to work towards decreasing their backlogs. This concept of sweat analysis can be applied to both cybersecurity and homeland security as a method of authentication to protect sensitive information on smart devices based on the user’s specific metabolic sweat fluctuations.

Bioaffinity-based systems are versatile and can be reprogrammed to allow for the analysis of different metabolites capable of providing clinical information about a person. Clinically, sweat has been used to diagnose cystic fibrosis in infants based on salt concentrations.6 Additionally, health monitoring via sweat constituents is also an area that is garnering much attention in the realm of flexible electronics. This work introduces a straightforward point-of-care diagnostic mechanism for use by medical professions as well as the general public. In particular, this research has explored the potential for quantification of ethanol, glucose, and ketone bodies in sweat as each of these compounds have a significant impact on today’s society.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Halamek, Jan
Commitee: Lednev, Igor, Royzen, Maksim, Sheng, Jia, Krasutsky, Sergey
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Chemistry
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 81/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Analytical chemistry
Keywords: Alcohol analysis, Bioaffinity-based assays, Biometrics, Glucose monitoring, Ketone body, Noninvasive sensing
Publication Number: 27834677
ISBN: 9798641841618
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