NOV 03, 2016 10:30 AM PDT

Rapid, Low-cost Tools for Global Health: Using Cell-free Synthetic Biology for Zika Virus Detection and the Portable Manufacture of Therapeutics

Speaker

Abstract

The recent Zika virus outbreak highlights the need for low-cost diagnostics that can be rapidly developed for distribution and use in pandemic regions.  In early 2016 we developed a pipeline for the rapid design, assembly, and validation of cell-free, paper-based sensors for the detection of the Zika virus RNA genome.  This work was built upon a paper-based system that we originally published in 2014 that used freeze-dried cell-free reactions to deploy synthetic gene networks outside of the lab in a sterile and abiotic format.  By linking isothermal RNA amplification to toehold switch RNA sensors in this paper-based system, we were able to detect clinically relevant concentrations of Zika virus sequences and demonstrated specificity against closely related Dengue virus sequences.  When coupled with a novel CRISPR/Cas9-based module, our sensors were able to discriminate between viral strains with single-base resolution.  We also successfully demonstrated a simple, field-ready sample-processing workflow and detect Zika virus from the plasma of a viremic macaque.  

We have also recently extended our cell-free approach to the portable manufacture of therapeutics.  Using pellets of freeze-dried cell-free reactions we demonstrated the synthesis over 50 products.  This included the manufacture and functional validation of antimicrobial peptides, vaccines, antibody conjugates and small molecules.  Our freeze-dried biomolecular platform resolves important practical limitations to the deployment of both molecular diagnostics and protein-based therapeutics to the field and demonstrates how synthetic biology can be used to develop tools for confronting global health crises.
 


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NOV 03, 2016 10:30 AM PDT

Rapid, Low-cost Tools for Global Health: Using Cell-free Synthetic Biology for Zika Virus Detection and the Portable Manufacture of Therapeutics


Specialty

Research

Research And Development

Genetics

Earth Science

Life Science

Cell

Drug Development

Genomics

University

Molecular Genetics

Proteomics

Health

Protein

Metabolomics

Geography

Asia67%

North America33%

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Website Visitors100%

Job Title

Executive33%

Research Scientist33%

Medical Laboratory Technician33%

Organization

Academic Institution67%

Manufacturer - Other33%


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