To lead the world in monitoring and diagnosing health imperfectness for continued improvements of people’s life quality.

Technology Innovation

Team MagiCoil is devoted to the development of a magnetic particle spectroscopy testing kit for portable, highly-sensitive, in vitro, and easy-to-use immunoassays.

Since the first system was established and reported in 2005, magnetic particle imaging (MPI) has emerged as a non-invasive tomographic technique that has proven useful in diagnostic imaging. Magnetic particle spectroscopy (MPS), alternatively called magnetization response spectroscopy, is a novel measurement method that closely relates to MPI. A MPS system can be interpreted as a zero-dimensional MPI scanner.

MPS-based bioassays have seen a spectacular rise over the past few years for good reasons. Compared to other approaches, this technique collects magnetic responses from superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) or magnetic beads which enables the analyses in minimally processed biological samples, i.e., without purification and wash steps. Furthermore, due to the superparamagnetic nature, SPIONs do not aggregate or clot in blood vessels, and SPIONs are generally nontoxic to human tissues and other biological samples, which enables their extensive use in drug delivery, magnetic hyperthermia therapy, magnetic separation, sensing and imaging nowadays. While prototypes of MPI systems are still in their testing stages, MPS has been actively explored as a portable, highly-sensitive, cheap, in vitro, and easy-to-use bioassay testing kit.

Schematic View of a MPS System

Back Cover, Small 22/2017, Wu et al.

Team Story

Researchers from University of Minnesota Departments of Electrical Engineering, Veterinary Population Medicine, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, and Material Science teamed up to form the MagiCoil team. Inspired by Prof. Jian-Ping Wang's vision of a low-cost, easy-to-use, accurate, portable MPS biosensing system, they have contributed their areas of expertise to build the first version of MPS handheld device, MagiCoil v1.0.

Team Logo

MagiCoil team logo consists of five components. The circular portion represents supreparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle, the stripes represent magnetic spectra, three components on the circular portion from top to down represent antibody, DNA, and peptide, respectively.

Our Team Advisor

Jian-Ping Wang is the Robert F. Hartmann Chair and a Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a member of the graduate faculty in Physics, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. He joined the faculty of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the University of Minnesota in 2002 and was promoted to full professor in 2009. He was the director of the Center for Spintronic Materials, Interfaces and Novel Architectures (C-SPIN), which consists of 32 professors from 20 US universities. C-SPIN was one of six SRC/DARPA STARnet program centers and the largest vertically integrated research center on spintronic research in the world. Prof. Wang is the director of the Center for Spintronic Materials for Advanced Information Technology (SMART), one of two SRC/NIST nCORE research centers. He received the information storage industry consortium (INSIC) technical award in 2006 for his pioneering work in exchange coupled composite magnetic media and the outstanding professor award for his contribution to undergraduate teaching in 2010. He is also the recipient of 2019 SRC Technical Excellence Award for his innovations and discoveries in nanomagnetics and novel materials that accelerated the production of magnetic random-access memories. He co-founded three startup companies out of his research. He has authored and co-authored more than 300 publications in peer-reviewed top journals and conference proceedings and holds 50 patents. He is an IEEE fellow. Link to Nanospin group website.

Our Team Advisor

Prof. Maxim C. Cheeran is an Associate Professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Cheeran’s primary research focus is in infectious diseases primarily studying the sequelae ensuing from damage caused by both the pathogen and the immune response it generates. Dr. Cheeran studies pathogens that affect both humans and agricultural species, particularly those that infect the brain, gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. Dr. Cheeran’ laboratory has developed reagents and immune assays to detect and evaluate infectious agents, particularly Influenza virus, in laboratory settings.

Our Team Leader

Dr. Kai Wu is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Minnesota in 2017. His research interests include Giant Magnetoresistance (GMR)- and tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR)-based biosensors, Magnetic Particle Spectroscopy (MPS)-based biosensors, magnetic brain stimulation and mapping, magnetic hyperthermia, magnetic nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanowires, and micromagnetic simulations.

Our Team Leader

Dr. Venkatramana D Krishna is currently a research associate (Researcher 6) at the College of Veterinary Medicine. For the past 6 years, he has worked in various projects with Dr. Cheeran. For the past 5 years, he has been involved in collaborative projects with Dr. Wang in the use of nanotechnology to develop biosensors to detect infectious agents in animals and have published papers together.