Najwa Labban standing in Gottwald Science Center

Biosensor breakthroughs improving disease detection

Richmond student Najwa Labban is advancing the use of biosensor technology in detecting certain diseases — and a leading national foundation is funding her promising research.

While biosensors have been used in medical treatment before, their success has been limited and results often yield false positives. Undeterred by that history of setbacks, Labban seized an opportunity to improve the technology.

Her research already has led to a breakthrough in making biosensors more effective at indicating diseases like sepsis and prostate cancer. Though easy to treat when detected, sepsis is difficult to diagnose and can kill patients in just 24 hours if untreated. Labban’s findings hold importance for these patients and the medical community at large.

Labban was named a Beckman Scholar, an honor that recognizes potential future science leaders and includes two years of research funding. With a plan to earn her Ph.D. in biochemistry and pursue a career in pediatric oncology, Labban’s discovery is just the beginning of her contributions to the field.


Najwa Labban studies biochemistry and Arabic. She is also a resident assistant, captain of the club track team, a tutor for the athletic department, and a member of the University’s professional chemistry fraternity.

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