Bashir elected fellow of AAAS

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By Tom Moone, ECE ILLINOIS
January 12, 2012

  • ECE Professor Rashid Bashir has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
  • He is an expert in the application of micro and nanotechnology to biotechnology and medicine.
  • Bashir co-founded Daktari Diagnostics, a company that is developing commercial biosensors based on his research.

Rashid  Bashir
Rashid Bashir

ECE Professor Rashid Bashir has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He was one of eight Illinois faculty members elected to this distinction.

“This is great honor,” said Bashir, an Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering and the director of the Micro and Nanotechnology Lab. “I am very pleased to have received this fellowship.”

Bashir is an expert in the application of micro and nanotechnology to biotechnology and medicine. In his research Bashir works to develop what he calls “point of care” sensors. Using nanotechnology, Bashir develops devices that can be used in either a doctor’s office or a patient’s home to perform tests that would previously have been done in a hospital lab and that would have taken several days to perform.

“We are very interested in making devices that can rapidly sense biological entities such as DNA molecules, cancer cells, proteins, characterize and detect bacteria, and detect and count blood cells,” he said.

These devices would not completely replace a lab, but they would bring the equipment closer to the patient and the physician to help make better medical decisions for the patient’s care. “So you take the [blood] sample at the doctor, and rather than waiting a day or two, you get the results right there,” explained Bashir.

And some of this technology could soon be on the market. Bashir is co-inventor of technology underlying Daktari Diagnostics, a company based in Boston that is developing a commercial biosensor for detection of specific types of white blood cells from whole blood. The development is aimed at the global health area of HIV AIDS diagnosis and treatment. “They have developed prototype systems, and now we are moving forward to doing clinical studies with human blood samples,” said Bashir.

Now that he has this fellowship from AAAS, Bashir feels that the word advancement in the society’s name brings some responsibility on its fellowship recipients. “We have to be ambassadors for advancing science and technology in the community,” he said. “We have to make the public more aware of how science and engineering is changing their worlds, is changing their lives for the better. That is something we all must do.”

Bashir also had praise for the University and his colleagues and students: ““I’m very happy to be here [at Illinois] and to be able to do this work with the colleagues and the students, especially,” he said. “We have fantastic facilities, some great colleagues, and great students.”

In addition to this recognition from AAAS, Bashir is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and of the IEEE. He received the College of Agriculture Team Research Award from Purdue University in 2006 for work in biosensors for food safety. He was also the recipient of the Joel and Spira “Outstanding Teacher Award” from Purdue University and the NSF Faculty Early Career Award in 2000.

In addition to Bashir, the others recipients from Illinois are Fouad Abd-El-Khalick (Curriculum and Instruction), Debasish Dutta (Mechanical Science and Engineering), K. Jimmy Hsia (Mechanical Science and Engineering), Keith W. Kelley (Animal Sciences), Wilfred van der Donk (Chemistry), M. Christina White (Chemistry), and James Whitfield (Entomology). These individuals will be recognized for their contributions to science and technology at the Fellows Forum to be held on February 18, 2012, during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

Editor's note: media inquiries should be directed to Brad Petersen, Director of Communications, at bradp@illinois.edu or (217) 244-6376.

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