• YEAR: Graduate Student
  • MAJOR: Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • HOMETOWN: Moradabad, India

Ankit Jain

Creativity comes in many forms for Ankit Jain. In the laboratory, he's focused on innovative techniques to turn smartphones into health care sensors that could one day save lives. In his spare time, Ankit enjoys the creative challenge of turning simple words and phrases into poems with deep meanings. Whatever his creative canvas, Ankit says Purdue provides the perfect atmosphere for him to explore his interests.

Looking at Purdue

Ankit says he chose Purdue for two main reasons. First, "as an undergraduate student in India, I heard about Purdue's great professors and all of the research tools and materials available for students."

Ankit decided to study electrical and computer engineering at Purdue because he sees so many applications to it in everyday life. "There are many possibilities, and that's what motivates me," he says. "I want to use engineering to make people's lives easier."

Disease detection

Ankit's research is focused on disease detection. He is developing ultrasensitive, low-cost biosensors, called Flexure-FET, that can detect diseases such as cancer based on the biomarker of the specific disease.

"Because of the cost and lack of sensitivity of standard disease detection techniques, including medical imaging and body scans, a new class of diagnostic techniques are being developed," Ankit says. "Our Flexure-FET biosensor combines electronic and mechanical biosensor technology that is so sensitive it promises disease detection in its earliest stage."

Smartphones

A U.S. patent application has been filed for Ankit's biosensor concept. He says it will be at least a couple of years before the technology is clinically viable.

He hopes to find ways to integrate the ultrasensitive biosensors with smartphone platforms, so that the phone itself would become a detection tool that could monitor vital signs, adjust medication and alert doctors to any medical emergencies.

"You would essentially have a doctor in your phone," he says. "It would be great for places like India with much more limited access to health care in rural areas."

Writing it down

From an early age, Ankit says, he appreciated the power of words. He has written dozens of poems, many of which focus on various aspects of his own life including his work as a researcher. "I may one day put all the poems together in a book."