Enrique Valera

Enrique Valera
Enrique Valera
  • Research Assistant Professor

Primary Research Area

  • Bio-Micro and Nanotechnology

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Biography

I obtained my Ph.D. degree in Electronic Engineering from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC, Barcelona, Spain) in 2008. In 2009, I joined the Applied Molecular Receptors group (AMRg, currently Nanobiotechnology for Diagnostics (Nb4D)) at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC, Barcelona, Spain) as a Post-Doctoral researcher with a Juan de la Cierva fellowship. In 2012, I joined the Biomedical Research Networking Center in Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN, Barcelona, Spain). In June 2014, I joined the Bayley Lab at the Department of Chemistry (UIUC, USA) as a Post-Doctoral researcher. In October 2016 I began work as a Research Scientist in the Bashir Lab at the UIUC. In 2021 I joined the Department of Bioengineering at the UIUC as a Research Assistant Professor. I am also a Research Affiliate at Carle Hospital (Biomedical Research Center).

During the last 16 years my research has been focused in several aspects of the Biosensors Technology. I have applied my biosensors experience, first, to the development of electrochemical transducers for the analysis of low molecular weight analytes in the food safety field, and most recently to the development of electrical and optical point-of care devices for clinical diagnostics applications. I have large experience in the development of new microfluidic approaches for cells, proteins and pathogens detection.

Besides my knowledge in the area of biosensors, I have further knowledge in several aspects of electronic, chemistry and microelectronic technology, such as nano-micro fabrication technologies (cleanroom lab), optics, impedance characterization, synthesis and selective functionalization of nanoparticles (semiconductors II-V, gold, magnetic, etc), surface chemistry, simulation of devices, gas sensors, porous silicon, MEMS, RF-MEMS and silicon technology.

As a result of my research, I have published twenty-nine papers in prestigious international journals and other papers have been submitted or are pending submission. In addition to this, I have participated in numerous international and national conferences. Also, I have participated in funded projects in Europe (2), in Spain (6), and in the USA (3) where I am currently serving as Co-PI in 3 projects funded by NIH, NSF, and Jump ARCHES. The innovation resulting from my research has been protected with 4 patents (2 in Spain and 2 in the USA).

Education

  • Ph.D. 2008, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, Spain

Academic Positions

  • Research Assistant Professor, 03/2021 - Present, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), IL, USA.
  • Research Scientist, 07/2018 – 03/2021, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), IL, USA.

Research Interests

  • Electronic technology: Development of micro and nano devices. Silicon micromachining. Microfluidics.
  • Biosensors technology: Point-of-care detection. Multiplexed detection. Biomarkers detection. Pathogens detection. Optical and electrochemical transducers. Clinical diagnostic and food safety applications.

Research Statement

One of my main goals as a researcher is to contribute to the development of a new generation of tools that help end the one-size-fits-all therapeutics. I am ambitious to develop personalized medical tools as global health technologies that can be used according to the limitations of remote settings around the world.

My vision is to develop a quicker, more precise diagnoses, and global health technologies that can contribute to more targeted and effective therapies. For example, I would like to contribute to identifying the precise bacteria which causes a specific infection in order to reduce the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. I would like to monitor the immune response to infection to contribute the stratification of septic patients into different endotypes. I would like to contribute to make disease (and even the risk of disease) evident much earlier, when it can be treated more successfully or prevented altogether. I ambition to develop platforms that can be rapidly tailored to the detection of new viruses or biological agents.

To achieve these goals, I work on the development of POC devices to detect the presence and/or concentration of biomarkers and pathogens. Biosensor technology, which is based on the use of specific biological recognition elements in combination with a transducer for signal processing, is expected to play a significant analytical role in clinical diagnostic, food safety, environmental monitoring, and so on. The biosensor definition and their wide possibility of applications, open the door to highly multidisciplinary collaborations among engineering, applied sciences (chemistry, biology or physics), and other fields of high social impact such as medicine, agriculture, etc. A successful collaboration among all of these components should be reflected in a final device that accomplishes the requirements of the different applications such as sensitivity, response time, reproducibility, portability, automation, multiplexing, and cost-effectivity. Successful biosensors must be versatile in order to support interchangeable biorecognition elements. The compliance of all these challenges in developing biosensor technology would allow the technology to be commercialized and transferred to clinical applications.

Primary Research Area

  • Bio-Micro and Nanotechnology

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Chapters in Books

Selected Articles in Journals

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