Abdullah Farooq


Abdullah Farooq is a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology and an MD student at the University of Alberta. At the University of Alberta, Abdullah spearheaded Nalpatch. Nalpatch is an interdisciplinary undertaking to develop a theranostic patch capable of detecting and reversing opioid overdoses. During the course of this project, we developed algorithms to analyze pulse oximetry data and developed an experimental platform to analyse naloxone delivery rate in vitro. At Caltech, Abdullah is developing synthetic biological tools to control immune cell function non-invasively with ultrasound.

Node Funded Project (January 2018)

Title: Nalpatch: An Opioid Overdose Detection and Delivery Patch

Principal Investigator: Abdullah Farooq, University of Alberta


Dr. Michael Serpe University of Alberta


This project was aimed at developing a “smart” opioid response patch. The goal of this patch is to be able to detect an opioid overdose and then undertake two main responses – release of naloxone and emergency communication. Once an overdose has been detected via a change in oxygen saturation of the blood, the patch will trigger release of naloxone using a tailored electroporation method in order to ensure that the naloxone is delivered in an appropriate amount of time and with an appropriate time to reverse the overdose. In this manner, the patch provides a potentially life-saving dose of naloxone without reliance on the presence of trained individuals in close vicinity. Critically, our device allows opioid users to continue using opioids – it is only the overdose and ensuing respiratory depression that will result in release of naloxone and EMS notification. Over the course of our CRISM funding, we worked as an interdisciplinary team of students from engineering, science, and medicine to develop a prototype of the patch device. We were supervised by Dr. Michael Serpe, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry. Dr. Serpe has extensive experience in the development of both drug delivery systems and biosensors.