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Professor Gouma's Isoprene Sensor for Sleep Apnea Featured in ACerS Bulletin

thumbnail of Perena Gouma article in ACerS May 2019 Bulletin isoprene sensor Ohio StateThe American Ceramic Society's Bulletin, May 2019

It has been an eventful year for Professor Perena Gouma, PhD, professor in both the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Among her noble accomplishments, the Edward Orton, Jr., Chair in Ceramic Engineering was recognized at the March awards banquet for her stellar contributions in the classroom by being awarded the Mars G. Fontana Award for Outstanding Teaching. Beyond the classroom, Dr. Perena Gouma's reputation as a renowned materials scientist has garnered invitations from conference organizers, medical institutions, and has resulted in press  releases by mainstream media -- all of which recognize her advanced knowledge in materials nanotechnology. 

Professor Gouma delivered a plenary talk featuring one of her sensors at the International Meeting on Chemical Sensors (IMCS) conference last summer in Vienna, Austria. The use of and implications for her isoprene sensor caused a lot of buzz in Europe before turning the heads of publishers in the States. Originally part of an array of sensors meant for flu detection, the use for her isoprene sensor extends beyond the virus. Perena's professional journey at Ohio State allowed her to interact across disciplines with colleagues in the College of Medicine, particularly those specializing in pulmonary diseases and sleep medicine. "It became apparent to me that my isoprene sensor could be used on its own as an indicator of sleep disorders, particularly sleep apnea," stated Gouma. A staggering 22 million people in the U.S. suffer from sleep apnea, "a disorder in which breathing stops or gets very shallow during sleep," Gouma, P. (2019, May). Isoprene sensor/breathalyzer for monitoring sleep disorder. Retrieved from 

Monitoring isoprene in breath and correlating with circadian rhythm (sleep/wake pattern) in individuals can have a major impact, from the successful operation of the military to tactical aviation and the successful habitation of the Moon and Mars. This research has opened new avenues for exploring human performance in familiar and extreme environments.

Professor Gouma carried out the proof of principle experiments, which led to her keynote address at IMCS last summer. Nearly a year later, Perena Gouma and her innovative use of isoprene sensors for diagnosing sleep disorders were featured in The American Ceramic Society (ACerS) publication, Bulletin. The May issue covered the experimental methods and results in an article entitled, "Isoprene sensor/breathalyzer for monitoring sleep disorder". 


Capsule summary taken from ACerS Bulletin

photo of Perena Gouma International Meeting on Chemical Sensors July 2018Perena Gouma, PhD, presents the use of isoprene sensors for monitoring sleep disorders at IMCS (2018), Vienna, Austria

[Gouma, P. (2019, May)]

"Breath isoprene is a biomarker signaling wakefulness. Hexagonal tungsten trioxide was used as the sensing element and it was able to detect and discriminate among various isoprene concentrations in the range of 300 ppb to 1ppm and above - the range of interest for the detection and monitoring of sleep disorders. The fast response, high sensitivity, and non-invasive, non-intrusive nature of the isoprene detector suggests that it can potentially be used as a diagnostic tool for sleep apnea."

Professor Gouma became a permanent figure at Ohio State in early 2018 and continues to blaze materials science trails that traverse colleges, departments, and time zones. She is a pioneer who proudly upholds the ideals of Edward Orton and Mars G. Fontana by advancing the function of materials and discovering additional applications. The Materials Science and Engineering graduate program at Ohio State is ranked 14th in the nation, and our competitiveness grows with professors like Dr. Perena Gouma who enrich disciplines by providing a fresh approach that blends elements of the engineering landscape - materials, medicine, manufacturing and mobility.

The quality of the materials science program at Ohio State is renowned - adding the proximity to the outstanding medical school and it becomes obvious that advances in materials can be easily translated to engineered (bio-)medical tools that can revolutionize diagnostics and theragnostics applications. - Perena Gouma, PhD

Tags: Research