I-Corps: Stress Quantification Using Extended-Gate Sensing Technology (StressQUEST) Grant

I-Corps: Stress Quantification Using Extended-Gate Sensing Technology (StressQUEST) .


  • The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is the development of point-of-care device for monitoring stress levels in individuals working in high-stress environments. Psychological stress has important impact on physical health, but detecting and monitoring stress levels is difficult with current methods detecting trace amounts of chemicals in sweat or saliva. However, this is limited due to sensitivity, time, cost, portability, and reproducibility. The proposed technology provides early stress detection and communication through wireless connectivity. Potential users include athletes, military personnel, commercial pilots, and individuals with preexisting health conditions such as hypertension and cardiac dysfunction. The technology could be linked to other stakeholders in industries such as health care, insurance, and clinicians. This I-Corps project is based on the development of a point-of-care device for measuring cortisol hormone levels in sweat and saliva. The technology uses molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP) for sensing cortisol – a stress biomarker found in body fluids - by electrochemical detection, which is designed to quantitatively monitor and detect cortisol levels in real-time. An extended-gate field-effect transistor (EG-FET) is used as a transducer to detect the electrochemical response of MIPs and to take a direct readout from the sensor. This EG-FET cortisol sensing platform may be easily produced at an industrial scale with miniaturization and automation capabilities. The sensor will aid in low-cost clinical diagnostics by providing real-time visualization of cortisol biomarkers. The goal is to translate this device into an IoT device for wireless data transmission to a smartphone app to monitor cortisol levels.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

date/time interval

  • August 1, 2020 - January 31, 2022

sponsor award ID

  • 2041526