Invented a breath test that could detect diseases
Pelagia-Irene Gouma, also known as Perena Gouma, is a tenured Professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the State University of New York (SUNY) Stony Brook and also the Director of the Center for Nanomaterials and Sensor Development.
Her research focuses on selective chemical detectors, biosensors and hybrid nanoprobes for electronic olfaction systems and nanomedicine applications.
She was born in Athens. She received an M.S. degree in “Advanced Engineering Materials” from the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki and continued her studies at the University of Liverpool and the University of Birmingham.
«I was born in Athens Greece, in the Academy of Plato neighborhood at the City Center. My parents were born in Athens too. My grandparents came from the Cyclades, the islands of Kythnos, and Andros» Gouma said in her interview at ellines.com.
During her tenure at Stony Brook, she established a new program on Sensor Nanotechnology and an Interdisciplinary Research Center (CNSD).
She also established novel and highly successful programs on nanomedicine, including developing and characterizing materials for biosensing applications suitable for non-invasive diagnostic purposes («band-aid»-type sweat test). Several patents have been granted and many others are currently pending. Her team invented a simple breath test that could sense when an asthma attack may strike.
On October 2, 2012, her team was selected to receive a three year National Science Foundation (NSF) award for the development of a personalized asthma monitor that uses nanotechnology to detect known airway inflammation biomarkers in the breath.
«Our findings primarily involve novel nanostructured sensing elements for the detection of biomarkers (disease signaling molecules) in the breath of humans and animals that may indicate/signal the onset of a disease or metabolic malfunction. Thus, with a single exhale the individual may monitor for example the levels of nitric oxide (NO) in his/her breath to figure out if an asthma attack is impending and thus take medication as needed» she added.
She holds Visiting Faculty positions in several universities of Japan, Italy and the USA.