Research News

Engineers create a simple test that can measure stress

Device measures hormones in sweat, blood, urine or saliva to determine stress

research assistant holds up a sensor

UC research assistant Shima Dalirirad holds up a sensor in UC professor Andrew Steckl's Lab.


June 14, 2019

National Science Foundation-funded researchers at the University of Cincinnati developed a new technology that can easily test and measure common stress hormones in sweat, blood, urine or saliva. Eventually, they hope to turn it into a simple device that patients can use at home to monitor their health.

The journal American Chemical Society Sensors published the results, and the university discussed them in a press release.

"I wanted something that’s simple and easy to interpret," said Andrew Steckl, lead investigator and an Ohio Eminent Scholar and professor of electrical engineering in the university's College of Engineering and Applied Science.

The test uses ultraviolet light to measure stress hormones in a drop of blood, sweat, urine or saliva. Stress biomarkers can be found in all of these fluids.

This project, funded by an award from NSF's Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships, focuses on capillary-based paper microfluidics to fill the need for ultra-low-cost blood coagulation diagnostics.

"This diagnostic technology is a prime example of how, through investments in high-risk/high-impact science and engineering projects, NSF is contributing to the health and welfare of the American people," said Jesus Soriano Molla, a program manager for NSF Partnerships for Innovation.

--  NSF Public Affairs, (703) 292-8070 media@nsf.gov