Azhar Ilyas

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Samir M Iqbal


Cancer has been the top ranked fatal disease for the last several decades. Most of the cancers remain silent at its earlier stage and are usually diagnosed at advanced and incurable phase. Early detection of cancer can have immediate and far reaching impact on better prognosis of cancer patients. Diseases are initially expressed at molecular and cellular scale and identification of these deadly diseases at such small scales would be a great step toward early detection. The study of biological molecules and diseased cells require efficient fabrication techniques to develop sensing devices with molecular size entrapment. Bio-nanotechnology and BioMEMs promise to fabricate devices not only down to the cellular scale but also down to the size of the biological molecules, such as proteins, bacteria and virus.The overall goal of this research is to develop robust and highly sensitive electronic biosensors for identification of cancer at molecular and cellular level. The dissertation study focuses on 1) Development of nano-electrode break junction sensors for selective capture of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) cancer biomarker 2) Development of solid-state micropore device for biomechanical discrimination of cancer cells from a biopsy sample 3) Development of multi-channel micropore sensor for efficient detection of Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) from whole blood in a high throughput fashion 4) Synthesis of PLGA porous nanoparticles for controlled drug delivery systems. All of these solid-state biosensors were fabricated using standard silicon processing techniques. Surface functionalization was also performed to immobilize RNA aptamers on the surface. Break junctions with nanogap separation provide a platform for direct investigation of biological molecules in a simple and reliable manner. Solid-state micropores make use of biophysical properties of cells to indicate the physiological state of cells without using any cell staining. Multi-channel micropore device offers a novel approach for CTC detection from whole blood where parallel recognition of tumor cells makes it a rapid processing system. A novel approach to synthesize PLGA porous nanoparticles using water soluble salts as extractable porogen offers a simple and straightforward strategy to prepare porous nanoparticles. These biocompatible and biodegradable nanoparticles with porous surface topography can be used as efficient nanovehicles for controlled drug delivery systems.


Electrical and Computer Engineering | Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington