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Former Charlotte Teaching Assistant Developing Lifesaving Biosensor

Working weekends as an emergency medical technician while an undergraduate at UNC Charlotte, Andrew Brotherton ’22 learned that quick, accurate diagnosis of heart attacks saves lives and improves patient outcomes. He also realized that emergency responders — and patients — would benefit from diagnostic tools on ambulances and fire trucks. 

“There is no worse feeling than having someone’s life in your hands and not being able to help,” Brotherton said. 

Now, he is working to invent a new tool for exactly that purpose as a doctoral student in chemistry at Northwestern University. His research is funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship awarded while he was at Charlotte. 

“With the biosensor I am developing,” Brotherton said, “an EMT could prick a patient’s finger, get the patient’s blood and test their troponin levels, which is an indication of a heart attack that you can’t see with an electrocardiogram. Troponin is an enzyme that heart muscle cells excrete when someone is having a heart attack.”

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