This 16-year-old hacked a printer to come up with a cheaper way to detect heart disease

Adriel Sumathipala is a self-described tinkerer. The 16-year-old says the trait runs in the family: His grandfather, who died of a heart attack before Sumanthipala was born, also loved to build things too.

Once Sumanthipala learned that he and his family were also at risk for the disease that caused him to know his grandfather solely through “stories and grainy photos,” he tried to stick to a regimen of exercise and healthy eating.

But he felt frustrated that he had no way to monitor the effectiveness of his lifestyle changes, because today’s cardiac diagnostic tests require expensive lab testing to measure cholesterol levels.

So, the teen set about creating an on-site, super low-cost, rapid heart disease test that ultimately won him a spot as one of Google’s 20 Global Science Fair finalists.

Instead of measuring cholesterol, his test would measure oxidized low-density lipoproteins (Ox-LDL), a biomarker that has an even stronger correlation with cardiac disease.

“I envisioned a diagnostic that would place vital health data in the hands of doctors and patients and thus establish the framework for a personalised medicine revolution,” he writes.

With the help of his biology teacher, Sumathipala spent two years trying to build such a diagnostic system.

Ultimately, he was able to hack an inkjet printer to deposit enzymes onto two Ox-LDL sensors that he developed. The paper sensor could then indicate whether the enzymes have high or low concentrations of the cardiac disease biomarker Ox-LDL.

(Learn more about the project here.)

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I totally agree we need cheaper, more accessible and more personalized healthcare. Part of that is making low cost tests that can be done anywhere and which have more accurate correlations with incidence of disease.


After studiying for 2 weeks for this biochemistry exam I couldnt even finish it because we only had 2 hours to make it (Yes, that should give you an idea of how long it was) and most of the people didnt finish the whole exam, the feeling of knowing and not being able to get a good grade for this exam frustrates me so much :( Now more than never I want to believe that grades dont necessary say how much you know (although I’ve got one of the best grades in the past exams and tests). Cant go back in time, cant fix it I guess I’ll just have to swallow it

Yersinia Pestis

The three virulence factors are:

F1 capsular antigen

V and W antigen

The mnemonic given in MRS: Imagine a rat driving a FUEL INJECTED (F1) vehicle called the VW bug.

Just an additional point: imagine the VW as VOLKSWAGEN, No in German, Volks means people generally, so from that, remember that V antigen is a simple protein. Wagen=sounds like vegan= it is a special snowflake= it is a lipoprotein.