Navigation Links
Tiny 'lab-on-a-chip' detects pollutants, disease and biological weapons

For centuries, animals have been our first line of defense against toxins. A canary in a coalmine served as a living monitor for poisonous gases. Scientists used fish to test for contaminants in our water. Even with modern advances, though, it can take days to detect a fatal chemical or organism.

Until now. Working in the miniaturized world of nanotechnology, Tel Aviv University researchers have made an enormous -- and humane -- leap forward in the detection of pollutants.

A team led by Prof. Yosi Shacham-Diamand, vice-dean of TAU's Faculty of Engineering, has developed a nano-sized laboratory, complete with a microscopic workbench, to measure water quality in real time. Their "lab on a chip" is a breakthrough in the effort to keep water safe from pollution and bioterrorist threats, pairing biology with the cutting-edge capabilities of nanotechnology.

"We've developed a platform essentially a micro-sized, quarter-inch square 'lab' employing genetically engineered bacteria that light up when presented with a stressor in water," says Prof. Shacham-Diamand. Equipment on the little chip can work to help detect very tiny light levels produced by the bacteria.

Instead of using animals to help detect threats to a water supply, Prof. Shacham-Diamand says "Our system is based on a plastic chip that is more humane, much faster, more sensitive and much cheaper."

Tiny Lab-on-Chip Boosts Accuracy

"Basically, ours is an innovative advance in the 'lab on a chip' system," says Prof. Shacham-Diamand. "It's an ingenious nano-scale platform designed to get information out of biological events. Our solution can monitor water with never-before-achieved levels of accuracy. But as a platform, it can also be used for unlimited purposes, such as investigating stem cell therapies or treating cancer."

According to published literature, Tel Aviv University is one of the top five universities in the world pioneering the "lab on a chip" concept. The nanolabs can be used to evaluate several biological processes with practical applications, such as microbes in water, stem cells, or breast cancer development. Prof. Shacham-Diamand's active lab group publishes a major paper about once a month in this field, most recently in the journal Nano Letters.

Environmental, Medical and Defense Uses for "Mini-Labs"

Partnering with other Israeli scientists, Tel Aviv University is currently building and commercializing its water-testing mini-labs to measure and monitor how genetically engineered bacteria respond to pollution such as E. coli in water. Cities across Israel have expressed interest in the technology, as has the state of Hawaii.

But other uses are being explored as well. Funded by a $3 million grant from the United States Department of Defense Projects Agency (DARPA), the new lab-on-a-chip could become a defensive weapon that protects America from biological warfare. His system, Prof. Shacham-Diamand says, can be also modified to react to chemical threats and pollution. With some tweaking here and there, it can be updated as new threats are detected.

Prof. Shacham-Diamond's research has also attracted the interest of cancer researchers around the world. He recently addressed 400 physicians at a World Cancer Conference who are seeking new devices to measure and monitor cancer and pharmaceuticals. "They need sensors like Tel Aviv University's lab on a chip. It's a hot topic now," says Prof. Shacham-Diamond.


Contact: George Hunka
American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Related biology technology :

1. Naviscans PEM Flex(TM) Detects Smallest Cancers Better Compared to MRI in an Independent Study
2. MITs PANTHER sensor quickly detects pathogens
3. Tiny avalanche photodiode detects single UV photons
4. Quantum device traps, detects and manipulates the spin of single electrons
5. VAP Cholesterol Test Helps In Search For New Heart Disease Drugs
6. Researchers at the University of Georgia Discover Protein is Crucial to Reproduction of Parasites Involved in Disease
7. BioIQ Supports American Heart Month to Raise Awareness About Heart Disease, the #1 Killer of Women
8. Results From Phase 2 Clinical Study of 6R-BH4 in Peripheral Arterial Disease Not Statistically Significant
9. Chronic Lung Disease - Axentis Pharma Attracts Investment Interest
10. Traditional Risk Factors Often Miss Heart Disease Warning Signs
11. New Multi-Center Study Finds Masimo SET Pulse Oximetry Screening Significantly Improves Detection of Congenital Heart Disease in Newborns
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Tiny 'lab-on-a-chip' detects pollutants, disease and biological weapons
(Date:12/1/2015)... 2015  CardioCell LLC, a Stemedica Cell Technologies ... cardiovascular indications, intends to proceed with finalizing a ... from a Heart Failure Advisory Board comprising cardiology ... Board members . In a recent meeting members ... and efficacy data from CardioCell,s on-going chronic heart ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... 1, 2015 Cepheid (Nasdaq: CPHD ) ... the Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference in New ... is reaffirming its outlook for the fourth quarter of ... to discussing longer term business model expectations. ...  "We continue to be the fastest growing company of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... physicians, aesthetic practitioners and aesthetics professionals from Central America and abroad for the ... in Panama City, Panama Feb. 17-19, 2016. Testart will present and discuss new ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. (NYSE: BIOA ), a leader in ... Business Act on Climate Pledge, alongside more than 140 companies ... Obama Administration to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to climate action ... COP21 Paris climate negotiations. ... Canada . --> BioAmber uses biotechnology to ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/12/2015)... Nov. 12, 2015  Arxspan has entered into ... and Harvard for use of its ArxLab cloud-based ... tools. The partnership will support the institute,s efforts ... chemical research information internally and with external collaborators. ... for managing the Institute,s electronic laboratory notebook, compound ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... NEW YORK , Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... refers to behavioral biometrics that helps to identify ... prevent fraud. Signature is considered as the secure ... for the identification of a particular individual because ... offers more accurate results especially when dynamic signature ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI International has been ... provide preclinical development services to the National Cancer Institute ... will provide scientific expertise, modern testing and support facilities, ... preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to evaluate potential cancer ... The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program is an ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):