Warren Zipfel of Cornell University in the U.S. will develop a simple, low-cost method to quantify levels of the tuberculosis-causing bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis in different tissues by measuring fluorescence emitted by one of its proteins, F420. To decrease the cost they will use a pulsed laser diode for F420 excitation, and analog electronics to process the fluorescence signal. They will optimize the detection circuitry and optics components, and evaluate its sensitivity and capacity for quantifying the bacteria in sputum and lung tissue. They will also build prototypes of the circuitry coupled to various optical instruments such as a laser-scanning microscope for analyzing extracted samples, and a bronchoscope for inserting into the lungs.
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