Nano-test strips to come to Pakistan

STAFF REPORT IBD: The National Academy of Sciences has announced a three-year $271,930 grant to chemist Vincent Rotello at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to develop, test and deploy new, sensitive, reliable and affordable inkjet-printed, nanoparticle-based test strips for detecting disease-causing bacteria in drinking water, with researchers at the LUMS.

Rotello, with nanoparticle researcher Irshad Hussain and molecular biologist Sohail Qureshi of the LUMS School of Science and Engineering, will address drinking water safety in Lahore where over 60 per cent of water sources in the city are contaminated with disease-causing bacteria. Hussains group will receive separate and additional funding from the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.

Starting from July 15, the UMass Amherst project is one of only 10 chosen from among 268 nationwide, with NAS managers noting it “was among the strongest in the excellent group of proposals we received.”

“This is a very nice mix of research and practical outreach in the real world with a goal to improving world health. We hope to produce a test strip that can be made on a small, local scale and also in a large-scale manufacturing setting,” said Rotello.

Experts in manipulating nanoparticles for biosensing, Rotello and colleagues had already developed a bacterial sensor based on enzymes tethered to gold nanoparticles that remain electrostatically linked in the absence of bacteria but release when it is present, turning the water or solution red.

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