'Skintronics' Electronic System on the Skin

Background: Since 1979 when the first transdermal delivery of scopolamine was approved in the US, transdermal drug delivery (TDD) has been of a great interest due to the enhanced delivery effectiveness compared to the conventional oral intake that has a limitation of diminished drug concentration in the body. The TDD method has demonstrated that it can resolve issues of inconvenient intravenous injections. An advanced TDD system that uses penetration enhancers has offered efficient transportation of drug from the skin (stratum corneum) into blood vessels. However, the major concern of the TDD approach was to minimize pain from needle injection. Recently developed methods using silicon microneedles have addressed the aforementioned issue by offering effective tissue penetration. 

Goals: The team will be working to develop a soft, conformal, skin patch with polymer microneedles in an array fashion, which enables pain-less injection, skin-friendly biocompatibility, and gradual transport of drugs to blood vessel with controllable flow rate. Once realized, it will benefit patients who need slow, but continuous intravenous injection of a drug like diazepam or those that require multiple injections of a drug like insulin. The team is looking for interested sophomore, junior, and senior undergraduate and graduate students in MNE, ECE, BME, CLSE, and CS to participate in device design, microfabrication, circuit design, software design, system documentation, and team and project management.


  • Fabricating an array of hollow microneedles
  • Developing a drug reservoir to integrate microneedles and a soft, breathable skin patch
  • Developing an electronic circuit to control the drug release
  • Developing a data acquisition and device control system interface

Contact: Professor Woon-Hong Yeo (whyeo@vcu.edu / web: www.people.vcu.edu/~whyeo)