Exploring Portable Method for Detecting Tuberculosis

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

FORT COLLINS – Engineering researchers at Colorado State University have found a new way to detect traces of tuberculosis bacteria in fluids that would allow for a more sensitive and accurate detection of the deadly disease.
The research by Diego Krapf, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and a faculty member in the School of Biomedical Engineering, was recently recognized by the Optical Society of America for its potential use in developing countries that face a greater risk of TB and its prospective use to detect latent cases of TB.

Working with Krapf on the research are Mike McNeil, Mike Scherman and John Spencer in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology at Colorado State.

The end goal of the project is to develop a platform for the detection of TB that is portable, affordable and does not require highly trained personnel.
Krapf has developed a biosensor that uses a combination of chemistry and lasers to isolate proteins prevalent in TB. Krapf mixes a sample with fluorescent antibodies for the targeted TB proteins and coats the glass slide with a molecular brush that will stick only to those proteins. Using a home-made microscope, Krapf can determine whether a large number of the proteins are present, which indicates the test is positive for TB.

Also on Krapf’s team, working on this project, are biomedical engineering graduate students Kristen Jevsevar and Aubrey Weigel. Undergraduate students Jeremy Stone and Nathan Proper are working to develop a smaller and cheaper version of the biosensor – now tabletop size – to use in the developing world.

Source: Everyday FC (link opens in a new window)

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