Natalia Bourguignon

Project Title: Development of Lap on Chip devices to evaluate trypanocidal drug activity individually and/or combined for the treatment of Chagas Disease

The present project aims to develop a novel and innovative method in micro and nanotechnology for the study of new drugs or new combinations of drugs with trypanocidal action for Chagas disease treatment that has an urgent demand. Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, is a public health problem of minority and underserved populations in endemic as well as non-endemic areas such as the United States. Moreover, Lab on a chip (LOC) devices are designed to integrate several laboratory procedures from the injection of samples and reagents to cell cultures, offering several advantages such as short response time, high surface/volume ratio, and more homogeneous/controllable microenvironment. The use of LOC devices is proposed to evaluate the trypanocidal action of drugs compared to current treatments for Chagas disease. Besides, these devices will facilitate invasion studies of T. cruzi on the host cells, in the presence of the different combinations of drugs with a higher selectivity index. The expected outcomes of the project will provide a solid basis for the development of the platform for drug screening that will allow us to transfer the technology to reduce disparities in Chagas disease.

Research Interests

Lab on a chip, microfluidics, drug screening, Chagas disease, biomanufacturing, cell culture, biotherapeutics.


Postdoctoral Associate
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

As a highly-motivated and application-orientated researcher, Dr. Natalia Bourguignon has proven track record working in interdisciplinary areas. She received a Bachelor in Biotechnology (2010) and her Ph.D. degree (2016) from the National University of Tucumán, Argentina. The objective of her Ph.D. work was the physiological and molecular study of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons bioremediation by actinobacteria. After completion of her Ph.D., she started working in the field of microfluidics with different biological applications at the National Technological University, Argentina. Then, she joined Dr. Shekhar Bhansali’s Bio-MEMS and Microsystems Research Group at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Her major work involved the development of “Lab on a Chip”  microfluidic technologies for the production of biotherapeutics, applications in drug screening, and toxicity assessment.  She participated in the NSF-awarded I-Corps program (2020) to develop entrepreneurial skills, research feasibility and learn the basics of commercialization, customer, and market of a microbioreactor for the manufacture of affordable biopharmaceuticals. In the RCMI-FIU project, her translational objective is to develop a new microfluidic device that will provide a fast, reproducible, and low-cost approach to improve the treatment of people infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, decreasing health disparities in Chagas disease.

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