See Season 1 - 2020

Episode 4: detecting corona

While we face the risk of a second wave of coronavirus, University of Twente scientists are working around the clock to develop fast and reliable corona-detection methods. In the University of Twente’s Campus Talks IV, philosopher of technology Peter-Paul Verbeek discusses the various options with physicist Sonia García Blanco and nanotechnologist Dilu Mathew.

Episode four of this online talk show of the University of Twente examines medical corona-related innovations taking place at the university. Peter-Paul Verbeek talks with studio guest professor Sonia García Blanco of the University of Twente’s Optical Sciences department. She is conducting research into an optical sensor that can detect biomarkers for cancer or diabetes. With the coronavirus outbreak, García Blanco changed tack: she now devotes all her time and energy to detecting the virus.


This can be done in another way: via the electronic analysis of blood samples. Dilu Mathew, CEO of University of Twente spinoff ECsens, developed a chip that uses extremely small electrodes to detect particles in nasal and mouth samples, including coronavirus. García Blanco and Mathew will hold a live discussion on the pros and cons of their detection techniques. The big question is: who will be first to market a technique that can be applied on a large scale?


During the broadcast, student TV programme Student Report will feature an item with technical medicine student Jorrit van Poelgeest. Jorrit conducted research at the TechMed Centre to improve respiratory equipment.


The episode concludes with a broad perspective on the crisis by professor Maarten van Aalst, climate scientist at the University of Twente’s Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation and director of the Red Cross Climate Center. Van Aalst reveals that the lockdowns across the world have barely had a cooling effect on the warming climate. He asks fundamental questions, such as: are we going to reorganise our world so that the weakest among us suffer less during pandemics and climate disasters, or will it be business as usual?