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Rising star uses paper to tackle food-borne diseases
Date:5/23/2014

(Edmonton) A University of Alberta researcher's star is rising thanks to her idea to detect deadly pathogens such as E. coli using a paper device only slightly larger than a postage stamp.

Frdrique Deiss, a post-doctoral fellow in the Faculty of Science, is working on ways to help detect food- and water-borne pathogens using a paper-based diagnostic tool that could be used anywhere, including developing countries. The idea earned the electrochemist $112,000 in research funding from Grand Challenges Canada after being selected as one of their Stars in Global Health.

Pediatrics researcher Michael Hawkes also received $112,000 from the federally funded Grand Challenges Canada, which supports "bold ideas with big impact in global health." Hawkes aims to develop a finger-prick blood biomarker to replace chest X-rays for diagnosing pneumonia.

For the next 18 months, Deiss will be working at the U of A and with farmers near Nairobi, Kenya, in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute, to develop and test a prototype that provides an affordable method for detecting pathogens such as salmonella or E. coli, which can be present in raw milk, on equipment, or in water or waste water.

"Some areas do not have the infrastructure to do this kind of monitoring all the time. These devices are simple and sensible enough to use that farmers could almost do the tests themselves, and test every day rather than once a week or even more sporadically," said Deiss, who is working in the lab of Ratmir Derda.

Deiss met Derda, also a past Star in Global Health, when they were post-doctoral researchers at Harvard University. When presented with an opportunity to join his lab in the U of A's Department of Chemistry, she took it.

"When I visited the U of A and toured the lab and the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science, I thought, 'Wow, this is a university where I would have the opportu
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Contact: Bryan Alary
bryan.alary@ualberta.ca
780-492-0436
University of Alberta
Source:Eurekalert  

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