This application aims to implement a comprehensive approach for the detection of biodefense enteric parasites through a collaborative team comprising of the Caltech biophotonics group, two NYU parasitology groups and Aptina Imaging - a leading innovator and maker of sensor chips. Specifically, we aim to detect Entamoeba, Giardia, Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora, parasites, which pose a public health risk via drinking water supply contamination. Diagnosis of all four of these parasites is currently performed by microscopy of stained stool samples, some of which can be confirmed by antigen-detection tests. We propose to implement a chip-scale high-resolution optofluidic microscopy (OFM) system that is capable of color and fluorescence imaging to detect and analyze these parasites in a streamlined and cost- effective manner. Automated microscopic detection of cysts using antigen specific OFM fluorescence detection will not only allow a multiplex, single-step approach for four different pathogens, but will also provide an automated diagnosis, eliminating the need for clinically-trained personnel. It will also scale up the throughput rate and reduce the time and labor required for diagnosis. We will also integrate magnetic sample concentration technology to eliminate the need for centrifuge-based concentration in field analysis. On the reagent front, we propose to develop monoclonal antibodies for direct immunofluorescence that will be generated against whole cysts or recombinant forms of defined cyst-specific antigens. The proposed project will benefit biodefense in two major ways. First, the proposed OFM system and associated antibody implementation will directly benefit current clinical practices by replacing the slide prep and microscopy imaging step with a simple, drop-and-go, low cost and automatable imaging cytometry analysis. Second, the addition of magnetic sample concentration will eliminate the need for a centrifuge and create a technology set that is broadly usable and well suited to address emergency scenarios.
The specific aims of the proposal are as follows: 1. Implement a color and fluorescence OFM system. Able to image at rate of 200 particles/min. 2. Generate monoclonal antibodies that specifically recognize cyst antigens for OFM detection. 3. Develop an algorithm to identify parasites and standardization of the assay. The algorithm will screen the collected images and select the relevant ones, providing images and an automated diagnosis. 4. Scale up number of OFM system per chip to boost total system throughput rate. Develop and implement 10 OFM systems on a single chip to achieve a throughput rate per chip of 2000 particles/min. Aptina Imaging will implement a foundry run to create a chip that contains 50 OFM systems per chip. 5. Develop magnetic antibody tagging separation to directly concentrate parasites from stool samples.
We aim to develop a simple sample concentration procedure that eliminates the need for a centrifuge.
We propose to develop a chip-scale and low cost imaging cytometer and a suite of monoclonal antibodies that target the enteric parasites - Entamoeba, Giardia, Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora. The proposed technology will directly benefit current clinical practices by replacing the slide prep and microscopy imaging step with a simple drop-and-go low cost and automatable imaging cytometry analysis. Additionally, we aim to incorporate immunomagnetic separation as a means to concentrate enteric parasites to create a technology set that does not require heavy equipment, is broadly usable and well suited to address emergency scenarios.
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