Control Freak Stories- Brown University


  • Able to keep study on track after struggling to find ideal ranges
  • Ability to expand research capabilities utilizing SMx Specialty Matrices 
  • Saved time and resources by no longer needing to strip urine themselves


“Custom matrices allow us as a team to think of different prototypes we can build going forward and opens up our research studies.” – Ramisa Fariha, Doctoral Candidate at Brown University

The Tripathi Laboratory For Microfluidic Diagnostics & Biomedical Engineering at Brown University is a hub for groundbreaking research, clinical care, and student-centered learning. Students from Brown’s lab are some of the next leaders in clinical pathology and have a deep sense of pride in the work they are performing.  

We were fortunate enough to sit down with Ramisa Fariha, Doctoral Candidate at Brown University, to discuss how she utilized UTAK’s Quality Controls, specifically our SMx Specialty Matrices. Ramisa designs assays and prototypes from start to finish for clinical labs at Brown University.  

Challenges and Solution

While researching testosterone levels in serum, the lab was experiencing difficulties detecting the proper range. Having used UTAK’s Quality Controls at a previous lab, Ramisa knew where to go when the challenge arose at Brown. She discovered UTAK’s Specialty SMx Serum, a synthetic product designed specifically to mimic real human serum while eliminating unwanted endogenous analytes.

Since it is not possible to obtain every human biological matrix in its pure and native format when manufacturing QC material, challenges in testing can arise. When Ramisa recognized that issue and found the solution, she was able to complete the necessary research as well as assist her colleagues who were struggling with lot-to-lot inconsistency. 

She guided her colleagues to UTAK’s Specialty SMx Urine which solved some stability issues the lab was experiencing when using urine that they had collected in-house. Prior to using UTAK’s SMx Urine some of the students in the lab would spend hours having to collect urine samples and then strip the matrix of all solvents. Another issue that arose, which is very common when utilizing human urine, is the smell. It’s no surprise that working with human urine can often produce a strong odor (we would know), however, that odor is nonexistent with specialty matrices as one of Ramisa’s colleagues happily shared with us. 

They both stated the idea of anything artificial when it comes to matrices is an exciting opportunity for research students such as themselves, opening up new doors for research and prototypes to evolve. Having the capability to create a prototype with any matrix, we could see the wheels in their head spinning at all the possibilities for their research. According to Ramisa and her colleague, when it comes to blank matrices “anything artificial is exciting.” Specialty matrices make sample preparation easier, cut down costs, and unlimited capabilities for research.

The research developing at Brown University is groundbreaking and we Control Freaks are honored to have a small part in their work. We can’t wait to see what life-changing developments out of that lab over the next few years. Stay tuned. 

To learn more about what Ramisa Fariha and her team are up to at Brown visit their department’s website- Center for Biomedical Engineering ( and their lab website- The Tripathi Laboratory For Microfluidic Diagnostics & Biomedical Engineering

You can see Ramisa’s published article where UTAK’s SMX Oral Fluid was used as the base matrix to create the calibrators and QCs for her research here- Simultaneous detection of salivary cortisol and cortisone using an automated high-throughput sample preparation method for LC-MS/MS – ScienceDirect

Ramisa and UTAK’s Business Development Executive Kelsey Iocoangeli