Latest News

Diagnostics Discovery Laboratory

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Top global emergency medicine article of 2016

June 16, 2017

A recent article published by DDL member Dr. Amanda Burnham-Marusich, "Prevalence of Sickle Cell Trait and Reliability of Self-Reported Status among Expectant Parents in Nigeria: Implications for Targeted Newborn Screening", was selected as one of the top 19 emergency medicine articles of 2016 (out of over 700 articles) by the Global Emergency Medicine Literature Review (GEMLR) Editorial Board. Each year GEMLR reviews several thousand articles, selecting those of the highest quality which have specific relevance to global emergency medicine. The nested cohort study conducted in Nigeria, where there is a high prevalence of sickle cell disease, found that targeted newborn screening has limited efficacy if based solely on parental self-reporting, due to the low accuracy of self-reporting results. A recommendation for was made for expanded screening programs that could enable the development of targeted newborn screening based on maternal genotype testing that could identify all newborns with sickle cell disease in resource-limited settings


DDL undergraduate researcher receives INBRE scholarship

June 1, 2017

Nevada INBRE, part of the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) program designed to help traditionally underfunded states build biomedical infrastructure. Each summer, selected recipients receive an award to work with a faculty mentor on an independent research project. We are proud to announce that another one of our DDL undergraduate students, Cameron Creek, has been selected to receive the INBRE summer scholarship award. Cameron will be working on the development of a prototype lateral flow immunoassay for the rapid diagnosis of hepatitis b virus. The goal is to provide a cost-effective and reliable rapid test to distinguish HBV carriers who are at the highest risk of serious complications such as hepatic failure and hepatocellular carcinoma.


Heather Green selected as Westfall Scholar and awarded the Durham Prize

April 25, 2017

Heather Green and Dr. Thomas KozelHeather Green is an outstanding undergraduate student that has been conducting research in the DDL for the last two years. In addition to excelling in the laboratory, Heather has managed to complete her undergraduate studies with a flawless academic record. Heather has been selected as the 2016 Westfall Scholar for the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, a recognition given to the student with the highest GPA from each department within the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. As further distinction, she has also been awarded the Durham Prize, a recognition that is awarded to only one Westfall Scholar that is considered the top student in the graduating class of the College of Science. Everyone at the DDL applauds Heather in her accomplishments and looks forward to supporting her in her graduate studies that will begin this fall!


Novel biomarker discovery for Tier 1 biothreats

July 25, 2016

Headed by Dr. David AuCoin, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) funded project will utilize In vivo Microbial Antigen Discovery (InMAD) in combination with advanced proteomics and microarray technology to identify novel antigens associated with multiple Tier 1 biothreat organisms. The endeavor will entail a large collaborative effort, where DDL will work in partnership with researchers at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, Menzies School of Health Research and Tulane National Primate Research Center to discover biomarkers for Burkholderia pseudomallei, Francisella tularensis, and Bacillus anthracis.


Dr. Burnham-Marusich leads Phase II SBIR award for pertussis diagnostic

June 21, 2016

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis and is a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening disease. Babies are most susceptible to pertussis and require immediate treatment upon diagnosis. The goal of this project, a combined effort between DDL and DxDiscovery, is to provide a rapid, sensitive and easy-to-use pertussis diagnostic to be utilized by clinicians at the point-of-care. Drs. Amanda Burnham-Marusich and Thomas Kozel successfully met the NIH funded Phase I milestones by developing antibodies to a novel B. pertussis diagnostic biomarker that were then used in a lateral flow immunoassay that demonstrated requisite sensitivity. The Phase II project will focus on further development of high affinity monoclonal antibodies, lateral flow immunoassay optimization and validation with clinical samples.


DTRA funds collaborative effort to develop vertical flow biothreat diagnostic

May 9, 2016

Sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Defense, DDL has partnered with the University of Arizona and Arizona State University to develop a rapid multiplexed diagnostic for the detection of Tier 1 select agents using a vertical flow immunoassay platform. The project employs a multidisciplinary team, combining the expertise and experience of DDL members with innovative, highly successful biotech engineers and design control experts.


Former student returning to DDL with grant to develop leptospirosis diagnostic

March 15, 2016

Farida Handayani obtained her master's degree in Dr. AuCoin's lab in 2010 with her work that focused on development and characterization of monoclonal antibodies to Burkholderia pseudomallei. After graduating, she returned to her home in Indonesia where she resumed working at the Institute of Vector-Reservoir Control Research and Development, NIHRD, MoH Republic of Indonesia. Her research has continued to focus on bacterial diseases including the outbreak, control and prevention of leptospirosis, a serious disease endemic to tropical regions. Farida is now returning to DDL to pursue her Ph.D. with a grant co-funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the National Academy of Sciences as part of the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER). This innovative program is designed to leverage the investments other U.S. government-supported agencies have made in scientific research and training while supporting the initiatives of developing country scientists. The focus of her project will be utilizing In vivo Microbial Antigen Discovery (InMAD) to develop a rapid immunoassay for the diagnosis of leptospirosis.


Navy continues support to InBios and DDL for multiplexed diagnostics

November 6, 2015

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has awarded InBios International and DDL a contract for further development of multiplexing devices for rapid diagnosis of diseases causing febrile illness. This project will build on the diagnostic development that was completed as part of the NRL's "24 month diagnostic device challenge". Diseases of interest for the project include dengue fever, malaria, melioidosis, chikungunya and Lassa fever.



Phase II awarded for melioidosis diagnostic

July 1, 2014

The partnership effort between DDL and InBios International, Inc. for development of an antigen detection assay for the diagnosis of melioidosis has received phase II funding. This project will focus on the advanced development and validation of the prototype Active Melioidosis Detect lateral flow immunoassay. In addition, both groups will work closely with experts in endemic areas (Thailand and Australia) who will be conducting a large preclinical evaluation of the Active Melioidosis Detect with different patient sample types. The goal is to have a rapid diagnostic test that can be utilized in regions where B. pseudomallei infections are endemic and in non-endemic regions in the case of bioterrorism attack.