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K-State chemists' biosensor may improve food, water safety and cancer detection
Date:3/29/2011

MANHATTAN, KAN. -- A nanotechnology-based biosensor being developed by Kansas State University researchers may allow early detection of both cancer cells and pathogens, leading to increased food safety and reduced health risks.

Lateef Syed, doctoral student in chemistry, Hyderabad, India, is developing the biosensor with Jun Li, associate professor of chemistry. Their research focuses on E. coli, but Syed said the same technology could also detect other kinds of pathogens, such as salmonella and viruses.

"Kansas is a leading state in meat production and the poultry industry," he said. "Any outbreak of pathogens in these industries causes huge financial losses and a lot of health risks. We want to prevent these outbreaks by detecting pathogens at an early stage."

Syed's recent research poster, "Dielectrophoretic Capture of E. coli at Nanoelectrode Arrays," was named a winner at the recent Capitol Graduate Research Summit in Topeka. An article on this work has been accepted for publication in the scientific journal Electrophoresis.

For more than three and a half years, Syed's research has focused on developing nanotechnology-based biosensors for pathogen detection and cancer biomarker detection. He began the research as a doctoral student under the direction of Li, who has researched nanotechnology for 15 years.

"Nanotechnology is a very exciting area," Li said. "It really provides an opportunity to solve problems for health care and food safety. It can also be helpful for the environment and energy issues."

The project is a continuation of work that Li performed at the NASA Ames Research Center in California, where he spent seven years developing nanotechnology. While working in California, Li came up with the idea of developing a small chip to capture and detect pathogens.

When Li arrived at K-State in 2007 he continued the biosensor research with Syed. Together they are working
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Contact: Jun Li
junli@k-state.edu
785-532-0955
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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