Bhushan Toley of the Indian Institute of Science in India will develop a device that protects DNA specimens from destruction during transport to laboratories for diagnosis of infectious diseases. Sputum, urine, and blood contain the DNA of infectious agents that can be used to diagnose diseases to aid treatment and help prevent spread. Diagnosis is generally performed in specialized laboratories, but the DNA can be damaged during transport from remote locations due to the length of time it takes or exposure to high temperature. Drying the samples would help protect the DNA but this requires a sterile method that can handle larger volumes of multiple types of specimen. They will develop a device incorporating microfluidics for spreading out large-volume samples onto a porous paper membrane for rapid drying. They will test various agents for coating the membrane to stabilize the DNA and keep it sterile. They will optimize the design and test its ability to detect tuberculosis in clinical sputum specimens from infected patients.
More information about Innovations for Integrated Diagnostics Systems (Round 19)