Wageningen University & Research: WUR students develop a rapid test to check for sepsis


The SensUs Challenge is an annual international student contest organised by the TU Eindhoven, which aims to accelerate the innovation of biosensors in health care. Each year, SensUs focuses on a different disease. The participating teams of this year’s edition were asked to develop a biosensor for sepsis, otherwise known as blood poisoning.

Inge Braak and Iris Janssen study Biotechnology and jointly headed the nine-person-strong SenseWURk team this last year. Braak: ‘A biosensor is a tiny device that is used to transform the concentration of a particular substance in your blood into a measurement signal. The assignment was to design a biosensor capable of recognising a particular biomarker. This year, the biomarker was Interleukin-6 or IL-6, a substance produced by your body in the case of infections.’ Janssen adds: ‘The body may sometimes react violently to an infection, causing severe illness. When that happens, your body produces high levels of IL-6. The concentration of IL-6 in your blood thus shows the stage of your sepsis.’

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