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Diagnostics Development Core

Collaborating Institution: University of Houston, Houston, TX

Director: Richard Willson, PhD

Co-Director: Juan Olano, MD – University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX

Co-Investigator: Anson Hatch, PhD – Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, CA

Consultant: Washington C. Winn, Jr., MD, MBA – University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

Description: The WRCE Diagnostics Development Core supports and enhances the efficiency of diagnostics development projects within the WRCE by providing common access to generally-applicable technologies, shared reagents and animal models, BSL-3 and BSL-4 testing of diagnostics, and specialized consulting services. Diagnostics workshops will be organized by the Core, with topics of interest to be decided by the diagnostics theme members. Animal challenge samples from vaccine projects will be harvested by the Core for efficient testing of diagnostic technologies. Technology development activities include the production of molecular recognition reagents (e.g., antibodies) for neglected pathogens, and microfluidics tools for the conversion of laboratory assays into practical diagnostic platforms. Shared reagents and animal models are economically more efficient, conserve animals, and enhance inter- and intra-laboratory comparisons of experimental diagnostics with gold standards and with each other. Moreover, we believe that common use of the core facilities by the RCE investigators will have the additional benefit of promoting scientific dialog beyond the boundaries of the individual laboratories. Central access to the Core's BSL-3 and BSL-4 testing facilities allows realistic testing of candidate diagnostics with virulent agents that would be difficult or even impossible for the individual investigator to access at reasonable cost. Finally, specialized advice on the translation of laboratory technologies into a genuinely useful platform diagnostic test will be provided by an experienced consultant, and will be made available to all diagnostics theme investigators.