Development of Bioscaffold for Detection of Cell Metabolics

Student: Yang Tian

Degree: Ph.D., August 2024

Major Professor: Dr. Ryan Tian

Research Area(s):

Biological Sensors

Nanoscience & Engineering

View Research Quadslide


  • Slow and difficult cancer diagnosis optically on biopsy samples are contrasted by worldwide more and more cancer patients.

  • TiO2-nanowire bioscaffold shows excellent bio-compatible and electrochemical (E-Chem) properties.


  • Ultrafast ion transport on the TiO2-nanowire affords a low-cost, sensitive, E-Chem cancer sensor newly on a bioscaffold

  • Several electrochemical methods are combined in this first-ever metabolomics-based, rapid, simple, reliable, reproducible, and sensitive cell detection.


  • Synthesize TiO2 nanowires bioscaffold directly on the Ti metal plate
  • Optimize the nanowire morphologies and synthesis
  • Control the cell-culture
  • Optimize the sensors’ set up
  • Analyze the impedance data
  • Develop the new metabolomic cancer-sensor concept based on the data

Key Results

  • The TiO2-nanowire bioscaffold is biocompatible with human cells including the normal and cancerous cells
  • Electrochemical techniques e.g. impedance and ion-transport rate are rationally integrated into the cancer cell sensor
  • Quantitatively distinguished the benign type and aggressive type of human cancer cells


  • TiO2 bioscaffold has high ionic conductivity due to the special lattice- and surface-structures

  • This cancer-sensor is highly biocompatible and sensitive, ideal for identifying whether the cancer is benign or aggressive type

Future Work

  • Dope different transition metals into the nanowire lattice to boost the nanowire conductivity and in turn the sensors sensitivity

  • Invent a mini-reactor to quantify the cell metabolomics in-situ in high-throughput

  • Quantify cell-cell communication in real-time on the bioscaffold