Educational Outreach

Senior Design Class, Biomedical Engineering

In the spring of 2010, the undergraduate course BME 405 Senior Design Project was taught by Prof. Ouyang with a trial of using "Miniature Mass Spectrometer for Clinical Diagnosis" as the subject for the project development. This exploration is characterized by the integration of the education with faculty research, requirements to the students to understand the a complex system at a system level, high level collaborations among all the sub teams, and high level interactions with expertise from different fields. The Center for Analytical Instrumentation Development (CAID) at Purdue provided strong support by offering help from the staff engineers, components for MS development, and the access of instrumentation lab to the undergraduate students during the project development. Four graduate students and one postdoc from Prof. Ouyang’s group as well as an instrumentation engineer from CAID were part of the teaching team. Faculty members from Chemistry were invited to serve as advisors and panel reviewers for the project development.

The undergraduate students in the class studied the target system, identified the requirements and the potential solutions and then divided the system into four subsystems, (i) Sampling Interface, (ii) MS Instrumentation, (iii) MS Control and Data Acquisition, and (iv) Data Processing, and User Interface. They also divided the team (total 19 students) into four groups, defined the responsibilities of each group and the interfaces among the subsystems. They also developed the task list and progress plan for the project development. They identified the most advanced technologies developed in research, including the paper spray ionization, discontinuous atmospheric pressure, rectilinear ion trap, etc., for their system development. They also accessed new capabilities across the campus, such as the SLA (stereo lithography apparatus) for fabrication, MS for qualitative and quantitative analysis, etc, for the purpose of component development and method evaluation. They gained very valuable experience while interacting with expertise from Chemistry and Engineering. At the end of the semester, a miniature MS prototype was developed by the students with a friendly user interface and capability of direct sampling of blood samples for the analysis of therapeutic or illicit drugs.