Currently, the most common practice for checking glucose levels for patients with diabetes

is a finger-prick blood test. Many diabetics will perform this test several times a day in order to monitor the disease itself, and adjust their eating and exercise habits which can affect their glucose levels. Not properly monitoring these levels can lead to serious health problems, including stroke and death.

Paul Russell '11, an electrical engineering and physics double-major, spent nine weeks last summer at the Osaka Institute of Technology in Japan working on a research project to develop an implantable biosensor that would continuously monitor glucose levels for people with diabetes. If successful, this technology would greatly improve the management and treatment of this disease.

Russell's research was part of an international program sponsored by the National Science Foundation through a Partnership for International Research and Education grant. The goal of the grant is to foster international collaboration and prepare future scientists and engineers to operate within a global scientific community.

Russell was one of only 16 American students chosen to participate in the NanoJapan program, which consisted of a three-week Japanese language and culture orientation program held in Tokyo followed by a nine-week research internship at leading nanotechnology laboratories throughout Japan.

russell_cookUnder the direction of Professor Shigehiko Sasa and Dr. Kenlcki Ogata, Russell's research focused on the use of microwave heating to grow ZincOxide nanorods on a silicon substrate in order to electrically detect glucose levels in blood. Still in its beginning stages, this research, if successful, could allow for the fabrication of nanoscale biosensors to be placed in a patient's body to detect glucose levels.

Russell is no stranger to assimilating to other cultures. As a native of Jamaica, coming to college in the U.S. was just his first step in getting the education and experience he needs to further his professional goals. Japan was another step in the process. He says, "In terms of nanotechnology and research in the electronics field, they're among the best. So having the opportunity to work in Japan was very exciting."

Despite being across the globe, Russell was pleased to find that he could still feel at home in the lab. "I stepped into the lab in Osaka and saw a lot of the same machines and equipment, and felt the same feeling as I do at Clarkson. It was very comforting."

"Everywhere I go, I find that the cultures are very different," he adds. "Between the language, the food and the customs, I am always fascinated. But I've also found that one thing always stays the same, and that's science."