École Polytechnique de Montréal
Just imagine: an implantable electrode that stimulates paralyzed patients to move. That’s just one of many medical breakthroughs expected to emerge from the marriage of electronics and biology.
Zhihui Yi is tapping into her skills in chemistry, physics, engineering and biology to study the largely unexplored field of organic bioelectronics. This frontier science will make it possible to design biological detection systems (biosensors) that are lighter, more flexible and less expensive. Diabetic patients already use biosensors to measure their blood glucose levels.
Yi is a top chemistry graduate from Jilin University in China, a Vanier Canada Scholar and winner of the Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prize for Interdisciplinary Research. She came to Canada to work with Dr. Fabio Cicoira’s team at École Polytechnique de Montréal to understand how organic semiconductors and conducting polymers—rather than inorganic materials like metals—act as conductors to transport electronics and ions. The coupling of electronics with living tissue holds the key to advances in point-of-care diagnostics and drug delivery as well as to reducing the risk of implant rejection.
In addition to publishing 20 peer-reviewed articles in international journals, Yi has also worked on the development and commercialization of cost-effective solar cells using organic semiconductors.