Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-17-2021


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Biomedical Engineering


Rangos School of Health Sciences

Committee Chair

John Viator

Committee Member

Kristen Butela

Committee Member

Bin Yang


Biomedical Engineering, viral particles, detection, diagnostics, laser


The Covid-19 pandemic is a powerful example of just how damaging the rapid spread of an unknown virus can be. Viruses have the ability to spread rapidly amongst individuals if not treated and controlled. The first key step towards treatment is the timely and specific diagnosis of the virus causing the infection. An innovative method for the rapid detection of viral particles in solution consists of tagging the viral particles paired with using photoacoustic flow cytometry to irradiate the particles and get a signal. The high affinity of Streptavidin for Biotin can be used to bind Streptavidin-coated microspheres to biotinylated antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies will be used to make sure that each one of them can only attach to one antigen on each viral particle. Using microspheres allows for a close approximation of the number of microspheres that can bind to each viral particle at a rate of approximately 6 microspheres per virion. However, the margin of error is thought to be high, due to the small difference between the detection signal threshold between one single particle and six of them bound together. The solution to eliminate this error resides in a multi-step process resulting in engineered microsphere complexes that can be detected by the system. Increasing the microsphere complex size by at least 3 orders of magnitude allows us to maintain the detection signal threshold to detect the particles at the standard threshold. Using photoacoustic flow cytometry to detect viral particles was never attempted before and would expand the range of applications for this system.