Nicolas Castano, Oren Knopfmacher, and Nitan Rajan

Rapid Diagnostics

We welcome you to join us in-person and on Zoom for our August eWEAR Seminar.

Date: Tuesday, August 30th from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm PDT

Location: Stanford University (Shriram Center, Room 262) & on Zoom

Ice Cream will be provided at 2:45pm for in-person attendees & a chance to talk with the speakers after the seminar.

Registration: Please click here to register

Safety Protocol: For visitors coming to campus please review the Stanford University Covid-19 Policies. Face coverings are strongly recommended for everyone attending.


Nicolas Castaño
3:30 pm to 3:30 pm
“Microfluidic-enabled translation of the basophil activation test from a research tool to a clinical diagnostic method for food allergy”

Oren Knopfmacher, Ph.D. and Nitin Rajan, Ph.D.
3:30 pm to 4:00 pm
“Flexible PCB based biosensors for low cost and rapid antimicrobial susceptibility testing”

Nick Castano

Nicolas Castaño

Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University


Nicolas Castaño obtained his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. He is currently working towards his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering under the advisement of Prof. Dr. Sindy Tang. Nicolas’s research interest is in translational diagnostic methods enabled by microfluidics, with a current focus on changing the way food allergies are diagnosed and monitored.


In the US alone, 32 million people currently suffering from food allergies, and the prevalence of food allergy on the rise. Despite the growing burden of food allergy on individuals and on the healthcare system, methods for diagnosing and monitoring food allergies are widely known to be deficient in accuracy and biological relevance. In this work we seek to adapt and translate the basophil activation test (BAT) from a well-characterized research lab tool for food allergy assessment to an accessible clinical diagnostic test. The BAT is an ex vivo blood assay that directly measures the extent to which basophils, a key effector immune cell for allergic diseases, respond to an allergen. Our aim is to develop and validate microfluidic devices that will automate and standardize the BAT and enable its clinical utility.


Oren Knopfmacher

Oren Knopfmacher, Ph.D.

CEO & Co-founder, Avails Medical, Inc.


Oren Knopfmacher, Ph.D., is a nanotechnology and biochemical sensor expert with over 15 years experience in the field. Oren grew up in Germany and obtained his Ph.D. in experimental physics from Basel University, Switzerland in 2011. His research was focused on biochemical silicon nanowire FET sensors. After graduation, Oren subsequently accepted a postdoc position in the group of Prof. Zhenan Bao at Stanford University. There he studied organic biochemical FET sensors. While being at Stanford, Oren completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business Ignite Program which lead to the formation of Avails Medical.

Oren is a passionate 4th degree black-belt Judoka. If not at Avails, Oren is refereeing international Judo tournaments as an internationally licensed IJF-A Judo referee.


Bloodstream infections (BSI) are diagnosed in at least 1.7 million patients in the United States each year, resulting in nearly 270,000 deaths annually. It is well documented that timely administration of appropriate antimicrobials is paramount in preventing mortality and decreasing health care costs. However, traditional laboratory approaches often take multiple days from the moment a blood culture bottle is flagged positive due to the need to isolate microbial colonies on a culture plate before any downstream testing. Avails Medical has developed a real-time, electrical biosensor platform using flexible electrodes, capable of monitoring microbial growth directly from a positive blood culture. Our technology is able to accurately quantify microbial organisms and provide antimicrobial susceptibility test results (eAST) in as fast as 4 hours, significantly reducing the time to results which is a key determinant of patient outcomes.


Nitin Rajan

Nitin Rajan, Ph.D.

Director of R&D, Avails Medical, Inc.


Dr. Nitin Rajan is Director of Research and Technology at Avails Medical. He leads the biosensor research and development efforts at Avails. He guides the design and manufacturing of the Avails sensor technology as well as sensor optimization and algorithm development. Nitin is an accomplished physicist with more than a decade of experience developing biosensor technologies and platforms, focusing on the interface between electronics, chemistry and biology.

He obtained his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Yale University where his doctoral thesis work was centered around the fabrication of biological field effect transistor (BioFET) sensors applied to cancer biomarker detection. His postdoctoral fellowship work at the University of California Santa Barbara was on microfluidic biosensors. Nitin’s work has been published in several high profile journals with over 1700 citations.

In his spare time, Nitin enjoys playing soccer and cooking.