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Conductive composite microneedles manufactured by 3D printing and applications in wearable biosensors

Abstract

In this project, we propose to develop conductive polymeric microneedles (MN) to be applied as electrodes for (bio)sensors for minimally invasive monitoring of different analytes. Despite the growing popularity of these platforms, efforts have been focused on coating them with conducting polymers or using metallic microneedles. These materials lack biological stability and require laborious and costly fabrication methods, creating translational barriers. In the present proposal, 3D resin printing, which provides the user with versatility, simplicity, precision, and the ability to print on demand, will be used to manufacture microneedle devices from conductive photocurable inks produced from zein methacrylate and quantum dots of carbon synthesized from biomass, such as lignin. By utilizing statistical tools such as factorial design and response surface methodology, we will optimize the ink formulation in terms of composition, ensuring high printability and microneedle arrays with mechanical and electrical properties suitable for sensor applications. We will use the best architecture determined by optimizing microneedle manufacturing conditions to develop an electrochemical sensor to detect levododa (L-dopa), a drug widely used to treat Parkinson's disease, which will serve as a model analyte for validating the effectiveness of the proposed platforms. We hope to advance the development of biocompatible, low-cost conductive microneedles for the construction of wearable (bio)sensors, which are potentially useful not only for monitoring human health biomarkers, but also for the detection of analytes associated with animal health, plant health, as well as food quality control. (AU)

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