Student: Anjali Shah

Project: SicklED: Low-cost, Point-of-Care, Sickle Cell Disease Screening Device for Use in Low and Middle Income Countries

Poster: Horizontal (PDF) | Vertical (PDF)

Institution: Lehigh University

Major: Bioengineering

Advisor: Xuanhong Cheng


Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a recessive genetic blood disorder that arises when an individual has an abnormal variant of hemoglobin in their red blood cells called HbS. Healthy hemoglobin is called HbA. HbS causes red blood cells to become sickle-shaped, aggregate, and form blood clots that block blood flow, leading to bone pain crises, anemia, and other symptoms. Globally, around 300,000 babies are born each year with SCD, with the majority of these individuals in Sub-Saharan Africa. 50-90% of these individuals die before the age of five years old. This range is very large due to the lack of testing to accurately determine the cause of death. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical in managing the disease and lifestyle of an affected person, but many of these countries lack resources (awareness, financial costs, stable electricity, and hygienic environments) to do so. The SicklED research team has developed a low-cost, easy to use, point-of-care, lateral flow diagnostic test strip device for SCD, to be implemented in low-to-middle income countries (LMIC’s), starting with Sierra Leone. The dynamic range of testing includes newborns to adults; the newborn population is being targeted to promote early action on treatment to lessen the severity of symptoms in the future, increase life-expectancy, and reduce the child mortality rate from SCD. The test strip, spotted with control, HbA, and HbS antibodies, works through a series of three steps to distribute, wash, and mix the blood sample with conjugate beads to allow diagnostic test lines to appear.

Anjali Shah

About Anjali Shah

Anjali Shah is a junior student from Holmdel, NJ majoring in bioengineering (biomechanics/biomaterials track) at Lehigh University on the pre-medical track. She traveled to Sierra Leone in August with the rest of the SicklED team, learning more about the perceptions of sickle cell disease and the healthcare system in Sierra Leone. In October, she presented on behalf of the SicklED team at the annual Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) conference in San Antonio, Texas. Anjali’s additional experiences include working with a team on Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Cautery Repair in Lehigh’s “Clinical Projects in Bioengineering” summer program (2021) with St. Luke’s Health Network. She is also working with her Capstone team with Stryker Corporation on a project in Partial Knee Arthroplasty. Aside from academics, Anjali enjoys singing and dancing. She is a member of Leela Indian Fusion dance team, South Asian Student Association (SASA), Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), and LU Enable.