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Researchers from Boston University receive grant to develop improved virus detection system
Date:10/4/2011

(Boston) A team of researchers from Boston University's School of Medicine (BUSM) and College of Engineering (COE) have been awarded a five-year, $4.8 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to develop a low-cost, multiplexed virus detection platform. Based on technologies developed with seed funding from Boston University's Photonics Center, the resulting diagnostic platform should be capable of rapidly detecting - at the point of care- viral pathogens such as Ebola, Lassa Fever and Marburg.

The actual testing of the virus detections platform with "hot" virus will take place at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Led by principal investigator John Connor, PhD, an assistant professor of microbiology at BUSM, the research team also includes Selim nl, PhD, Hatice Altug, PhD, Catherine Klapperich, PhD and Mario Cabodi, PhD, all from the COE. Together their research groups will work to apply cutting-edge developments in engineering and physics to the task of finding and identifying infectious agents

"We brought together this interdisciplinary team in order to develop a breakthrough detector system that will allow a simple test for the presence of multiple viruses," said Connor. "To do that, we are working to negate the need for enzymes or fluorescent labels and are building nanoscale platforms that can look for multiple viruses at the same time," he added.

The team is working on two different detection technologies. For both technologies, the complete system will consist of a small "detector" chip containing integrated microfluidics. The microfluidics will allow samples to be drawn over the active sensing chip that will capture viruses.

The chip will then be analyzed in a "reader" that is capable of rapidly reading the detector chips and providing diagnostic information. The system should be able to simultaneously assess multiple possible infectious agents. The chips are smaller than a quarter, an
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Contact: Gina DiGravio
gina.digravio@bmc.org
617-638-8480
Boston University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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