Curiosity Creates: Nanotech Pioneers


Carlos Escobedo: Catching disease early with microtechnology

[Carlos Escobedo]

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada. Improvement in cancer treatments is dramatically improving survival rates; however, early detection is also critical to treating this disease. Carlos Escobedo’s research in microsystems and microstructures is offering new hope through novel technologies that can provide early diagnoses for a number of cancers as well as other pathogens that have a significant impact on the lives of Canadians.

A Queen’s faculty member since 2013, Dr. Escobedo also has several years of industry experience as a manager of the mechanical engineering division at Mexico’s Innovamedica R&D, where he was part of the team that developed the first Mexican artificial heart. His current research is focused on working with sensors to detect diseases, including cancer and pathogenic infections, at the early stages.

Working at the micro and nano-scale, Dr. Escobedo’s research involves the development of miniaturized technologies for analytical and diagnostic applications through the use and combination of microfluidics and optics. “Our nanostructured-based biosensing platforms can be used for many applications with high socio-economic impact,” he says. “Our goal is to have a global impact on population health through the development of biomedical diagnostics that can be used in situ.”

[biosensing platform]
Biosensing platforms can help detect diseases at the early stages.

The success of these sensing technologies has already been demonstrated through a label-free nanoplasmonic sensing platform built with off-the-shelf optical and electronic components. This is used for uropathogenic E. coli, which is responsible for most cases of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

This groundbreaking work has been recognized with over $1 million in research grants as well as several awards, including the 2018 Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. In 2018, Dr. Escobedo also received one of TD Bank’s 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians awards, and in 2019 he earned a Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Excellence in Research Award.

Dr. Escobedo notes that his research is at an exciting point. “We want this knowledge to have real-world applications for diagnosing ovarian and other cancers,” he says. “Our hope is to transfer our technology to a company that can bring it to market.”

Learn more about Escobedo Lab: