About the DDL

Diagnostics Discovery Laboratory

The Diagnostics Discovery Laboratory is a research unit within the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. We are academic in our approach and entrepreneurial in our culture. The Diagnostics Discovery Laboratory offers rich opportunities for training and education at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels. We actively engage the private sector through cooperative research and licensing of technology - typically monoclonal antibodies that have been developed by the Diagnostics Discovery Laboratory.

Overview of development process

Our goal is to reduce the global burden of disease through diagnostics that are sensitive, specific and affordable. Disease is best treated if detected early. We are guided by the WHO ASSURED criteria for diagnostics for the developing world - Affordable, Sensitive, Specific, User-friendly, Rapid, Equipment free, and Deliverable.

Our approach is detection of biomarkers of disease - molecules that are produced by microbes, tumors or other conditions that are unique to the disease or condition. Familiar examples include the PSA test for prostate cancer, the "quick Strep" test for strep throat, or the home pregnancy test. The test platform is the immunoassay—use of antibodies to detect biomarkers.

We focus on diseases where alternative means for diagnosis such as culture or use of molecular probes is ineffective or not practical. In some cases, the biomarker is known and the challenge is production of antibodies that are used to detect the biomarker. In other cases, the biomarker is not known; in this instance, the process begins with target discovery. Ultimate product development is done through licensing of technology to biotechnology firms in the private sector.

Core technologies used in diagnostics discovery and development include molecular immunology, immunochemistry, monoclonal antibody production, and a target discovery strategy termed In vivo Microbial Antigen Discovery (InMAD).