Dan Luo, a Cornell University professor of biological and environmental engineering, and Edwin Kan, professor of electrical and computer engineering, have collaborated on a handheld pathogen detector that could someday give health care workers in the developing world speedy results in the field when identifying such pathogens as tuberculosis, chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV. The work is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the Grand Challenge program to develop “point-of-care diagnostics” for developing countries.
Luo has devised a novel method of detecting harmful pathogens by essentially “amplifying” pathogen DNA. With just a single strand of pathogen DNA, special double Y shaped DNA strands can be formed that will quickly polymerize and create clumps that are easily detectable. Kan has developed the detector part of the system, which measures the mass and charge of the polymerized Y-DNA. The chip is based on the popular and inexpensive CMOS technology found commonly in electronic devices, which gives the device the ability to be easily integrated into a cellphone or small computer.
Together, the handheld device is extremely low-cost, usable under harsh field conditions, and will be able to report results in about only 30 minutes.
Article from Cornell University: Portable Device Will Quickly Detect Pathogens in Developing Countries…