BDN quotes Howell in article on new paper mill products

The Bangor Daily News quoted Caitlin Howell, an assistant professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at the University of Maine, in the article “Your doctor’s office may soon be less germy because of a Maine paper mill.” As the traditional paper business of Sappi North America continues to shrink, the company is expanding its production into other areas through its Westbrook Technology Center, where paper products are developed for new purposes, including in the medical field. Products with miniscule textures can be used in doctor’s offices and ambulances to inhibit microbial growth without requiring chemicals, the article states. One project is a collaboration with UMaine to develop a tiny, paper-based medical test device. “Point-of-care diagnostics could make a difference in getting tested in your rural town instead of traveling one to two hours to a hospital,” said Howell, who has been collaborating to test Sappi textures including materials inside an ambulance, and a tiny square of paper imprinted with special microfluidic patterns. “We can create these microfluidic devices on a mass-manufactured scale. The next step is to finish the validation work and show the versatility of the two-dimensional pattern that is unlimited in what it can do. Then we’ll work with companies to make tests,” Howell said. “The technology opens new avenues to new types of applications we haven’t even thought about in the future.” Maine Public carried the BDN article.