Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Asynchronous Magnetic Bean Rotation (AMBR) Microviscometer for Label-Free DNA Analysis

Technology #5948

DNA detection methods have a wide range of applications from clinical diagnostics and drug development, to the food industry and forensic sciences. DNA detection is particularly useful for sensing and identifying illness-carrying pathogens. Molecular diagnostic techniques have increasingly made their way into clinical laboratories and to point-of-care locations, although there is still a need for rapid diagnostic tests. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods have become a routine tool for genetic analysis. Most of these tests rely on expensive equipment located in clinical laboratories, and depend on the use of additional devices for post-PCR result analysis.

With the increase in new infectious disease outbreaks, there is an enhanced need to identify pathogens as rapidly as possible, so as to begin treatment quickly. Sensitive, low-cost, point of care diagnostic tools are in demand to address these issues, as well as to facilitate the assessment of important public health concerns such as food and water quality without waiting days or weeks for results. In the United States, the point of care diagnostics testing market is expected to grow faster than the centralized laboratory testing market, with expected revenues of $3.9 billion by the year 2016.

Cost effective, microfabricated viscometer for label-free DNA analysis

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new, sensitive, label-free DNA analysis technology that can be fully miniaturized and integrated into low-cost microfluidic devices for real-time PCR usage, as well as diagnosing blood clotting, mapping the viscosity in living cells and understanding drug delivery mechanisms. Conventional real-time PCR instruments rely on large, expensive fluorescence detectors to analyze their results. This new technology does not require the use of fluorescent labels, thus it is suitable for use in portable as well as larger microfluidic-based molecular diagnostic devices that can be utilized at the point of use without sacrificing detection sensitivity.


  • Diagnosis of infectious diseases at point-of-care.
  • Assessment of water and food quality at point-of-use.
  • Viscosity mapping in living cells.
  • Diagnosis of blood clotting.


  • Viscometer can be integrated into low cost of production microfluidic devices
  • Label-free real-time polymerase chain reaction
  • Small sample volume needed
  • Can be used at point-of-care and provide rapid results.