Dr. M. Jamal Deen







Title: Biosensors – Having Fun with Engineering and the Sciences

Place: École Polytechnique de Montréal.
Date and time:  Thursday September 19th, 2013.



Biosensors are increasingly used in environmental applications, especially for water quality monitoring. This is because the availability of safe drinking water is fundamental to our good health. However, as water resources get increasingly stressed, ensuring a safe water supply and effective water treatment becomes increasingly important. In addition, waterborne illnesses are a significant public health problem. At the same time, current monitoring of microbiological contamination of water currently is time-consuming, laboratory based, and frequently compromises the timeliness of health advisory warnings even when contamination is found. Therefore, rapid detection of unsafe water can contribute greatly to mitigating the morbidity and mortality associated with waterborne diseases due to microbiological contaminants. Fortunately, the research community has shown increasing interest in the development of microtechnology-based sensors for the detection and identification of the bio-contaminants. These sensing systems use the same fabrication technology that has enabled the drastic lowering of cost, exponential increase in complexity of electronic chips and widespread availability of computing resources. In this presentation, we discuss a low-cost, electrical, label-free microfabricated biosensor that we are developing for pathogen detection related to water quality and also for ubiquitous-healthcare applications. The use of nanodimensions devices to create futuristic nano-biosensors for both environmental and health applications will be introduced. And we will also describe our ongoing work to create highly integrated and parallel detection systems by integrating the sensor, the processing electronics and the pre-processing stages on the same cheap substrate. Finally, the success of such a low-cost, highly integrated sensing system demands a convergence of expertise from various engineering disciplines, the physical and life sciences as well as public health.


Dr. M. Jamal Deen was born in Guyana, South America. He completed a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, U.S.A. His Ph.D. dissertation was on the design and modeling of a new CARS spectrometer for dynamic temperature measurements and combustion optimization in rocket and jet engines, and was sponsored and used by NASA, Cleveland, USA. He is currently Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and holder of the Senior Canada Research Chair in Information Technology, McMaster University. His current research interests are nanoelectronics, optoelectronics, nanotechnology and their emerging applications to health and environmental sciences. Dr. Deen’s research record includes more than 470 peer-reviewed articles (about 20% are invited), 1 textbook on Silicon Photonics – Fundamentals and Devices, 20 authored/edited books and conference proceedings, 16 invited book chapters, 6 awarded patents that have been used in industry, and 12 best paper/poster awards. Over his career, he has won more than fifty awards and honors.

As an undergraduate student at the University of Guyana, Dr. Deen was the top ranked mathematics and physics student and the second ranked student at the university, wining the Chancellor’s medal and the Irving Adler prize. As a graduate student, he was a Fulbright-Laspau Scholar and an American Vacuum Society Scholar. He is a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Electron Device Society. His awards and honors include the Thomas D. Callinan Award and the Electronics and Photonics Division from the Electrochemical Society; the Distinguished Researcher Award, Province of Ontario; a Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation; an IBM Faculty Award; the Eadie Medal from the Royal Society of Canada; the Fessenden Silver Medal as well as the McNaughton Gold Medal from IEEE Canada. For his exceptional scholarly achievements and service contributions, and exemplary professionalism, Prof. Deen was awarded two honorary doctorates – the degree Doctor of Engineering – honoris causa from University of Waterloo, Canada in 2011 and the degree Doctor – honoris causa from Universidad de Granada, Spain in 2012. Finally, Dr. Deen’s peers have elected him Fellow in nine national academies and professional societies including The Royal Society of Canada (FRSC) – The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada (the highest honor for scholars, academics and artists in Canada), The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (FIEEE), The American Physical Society (FAPS), and The Electrochemical Society (FECS).