Michigan professor offers polymerase assay for fifty pathogens

Published 22 December 2006

Portable, polymerase-based, hand-held device relies on a DNA biochip; flexibility a major selling point; field testing to be done by university spin-off AquaBioChip

Tests, sensors, assays…get’em while they’re hot! The past year has seen a rush of new technologies to quickly identify pathogens, and so why not end the year with another? University of Michigan professor Syed Hashsham is currently hard at work developing a portable, polymerase-based, hand-held device capable of detecting up to fifty air, water and food-borne diseases with a DNA biochip. This “all in one” approach is promising because it offers extreme flexibility across multiple industries. After all, a produce vendor needs to identify E. coli but not smallpox, while an Army corpsman has just the opposite needs. “This technology is rugged and highly parallel; it can analyze lots of marker genes in a lot of samples, together with significantly lower false positives,” Hashsham said.

Earlier this year, Hashsham was awarded $966,608 from the 21st Century Jobs Fund to develop and commercialize the device. Lansing, Michigan-based AquaBioChip, a university spin-off, will test the device under field conditions.

-read more in this university news release