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Disease Diagnostics Research at Los Alamos National Laboratory

October 23, 2019

Harshini Mukundan: Our lab is focused on the
development of diagnostic assays for infectious diseases that can quickly tell you what kind
of disease a person has. We’ve drawn inspiration from nature, because our immune system has
actually figured out exactly how to do this. It can tell self from foreign within a matter
on minutes and mount an adequate immune response as well. Why can’t we mimic this response
in the laboratory? And have a universal strategy for the diagnosis of all kind of infectious
diseases? And that’s precisely what we do in the lab. And we do this by trying to look
for bits an pieces of the disease-causing agent in the patient in the complex background
of blood, serum or urine from the diseased patient itself. For this we need very exquisite,
sensitive technology, and we’ve used a wave-guide based platform, an optical biosensor that
was developed by my mentor Basil Swanson and his team right here at Los Alamos National
Lab. We’ve also developed assays that can actually look at how the pathogen interacts
with the host and use that for developing assays to look at various diseases like tuberculosis, salmonella, staff infection, so on and so forth

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