Valencia Watson

Participant: PROMISE AGEP Research Symposium


Valencia Watson

Department: Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering

Institution: University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UM)



Validating the Efficacy of Microdialysis in an Automated Transdermal Glucose Monitoring System

Conventional glucose monitoring techniques incorporate sensors with millimolar sensitivity. In recent years, interest has sparked in sensors with micromolar sensitivity for applications in minimally invasive sampling techniques such as fast microdialysis. Our lab is developing an automated transdermal glucose monitoring sensor. The sensor itself is an immobilized, fluorescent labeled, HIS-tagged glucose binding protein (GBP). GBP is a soluble protein found in the periplasmic space of Gram-negative bacteria. Glucose binding to GBP induces a conformational change that is the basis for attaching the fluorescent probe to an allosterically responsive site on the protein. GBP has a binding constant for glucose in the micromolar range. Previous results have also shown the reversibility of this interaction within this context, resulting in a reusable biosensor. Progression towards a fully automated device continues with the analysis of microdialysis in this setup. Microdialysis is a potentially useful method we have proposed for this system such that millimolar transdermal glucose samples will undergo microdialysis and fall within a detectable micromolar range. In this presentation we establish the feasibility of incorporating microdialysis to monitor glucose in the GBP biosensor setup. The effect of perfusion rate was determined.



Valencia’s passions for science and engineering stem from childhood. She is a native of Denver, CO, where she was inspired by her family, teachers and community to strive for academic excellence. Her accomplishments in her early education led her to be awarded the prestigious Daniels Fund scholarship, where she would choose to attend Georgia Institute of Technology and earn her degree in Biomedical Engineering. Valencia is proud to be a part of the UMBC community and is hopeful for the bright success she anticipates. In her first year she is a member of the Bridge to Doctorate program as well as the Meyerhoff graduate program. She is an advocate for young women/men in STEM and has served on several teaching cohorts geared towards increasing the number of disadvantaged youths to attend college. She volunteers in the community and is currently teaching sign language to young children. She is motivated by the ideology that all persons deserve a shot at living a healthy and happy lifestyle, regardless of socioeconomic status. Valencia hopes to pursue a career in academia with entrepreneurial opportunities.



Valencia Watson is a first-year doctoral student in the department of Biochemical Engineering at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Her undergraduate institution is Georgia Institute of Technology where she earned her degree in Biomedical Engineering. Valencia is under the advisory of Dr. Govind Rao and Dr. Leah Tolosa. Her project focuses on developing a reusable, automated transdermal glucose monitoring device for commercial use.


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