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WIU Faculty Member Developing Prostate Cancer Detection Device

April 8, 2019

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MACOMB, IL – A Western Illinois University Department of Chemistry faculty member has co-founded her own biotechnology company to develop a prostate cancer detection device prototype.

Assistant Professor Erica McJimpsey, co-author of the book, "The Beginning of Time Plan for your Life," launched the company McJimpsey Biotechnologies, Inc. at WIU in 2018. The medical device detects prostate cancer in its early stages. After approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it will be marketed to hospitals, clinical laboratories and medical groups.

McJimpsey said the idea for the device "came from God" while she was doing a fellowship as part of her post-doctoral research. McJimpsey, who is an evangelist, attributes her success to a higher power.

After the device is fully developed, McJimpsey plans to apply for research funding that would allow her to hire WIU students to perform research for the company or work at paid internships.

McJimpsey came to WIU in 2015 as a visiting professor and she transitioned to an assistant professorship on campus the following year. She teaches a variety of classes, including chemical calculations and courses in the area of analytical/bioanalytical chemistry.

She received her bachelor's degree in chemistry from Chicago State University and her doctoral degree in analytical chemistry from the University of California, Davis (UCD). As an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, she performed postdoctoral research in the field of microbial detection, among other bio-defense studies. She was also a recipient of the National Research Council (NRC) Postdoctoral Research Associate Fellowship, and conducted postdoctoral research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the area of prostate cancer metrology.

Before starting research at the NIST, McJimpsey had been working on bio-defense projects. She shifted into the field of biomedical research during her post doctorate at the NIST.

"I had to learn new techniques because I hadn't done that kind of research before my time at the NIST," McJimpsey said.

In 2018, the prostate cancer detection device was patented by the NIST.

McJimpsey's current research interests include early stage breast cancer detection, prostate cancer health disparities among African American men, quality assurance analysis of dietary supplements, faith healing and music therapy as it relates to the cellular glycoproteome.

For more information about the WIU Department of Chemistry, visit

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