Congratulations to Haider Hassan, a Biochemistry PhD student in the lab of Joe Torchia, PhD, Departments of Biochemistry and Oncology, for receiving the 2017 WORLDiscoveries Scholarship for Commercialization/Entrepreneurship. Haider has been recognized for his ingenious project on rapid detection of Ebola virus in blood.
Hassan has proposed to combine the power of the polymerase chain reaction or PCR (a form of molecular photocopying) with molecular beacons (special tags on molecules) to allow Ebola viral detection. In brief, he will use PCR to “photocopy” any Ebola viral RNA in blood samples, and then, he will tag the resulting “photocopies” with molecular beacons for easy detection. To carry out his plan, he will build a specialized PCR machine and use a simple PCR protocol that he has already developed: the resulting device will be portable, cost effective, and quick, and able to provide reproducible results for Ebola detection.
This award is generously supported by funds from WORLDiscoveries, with the goal of fostering opportunities for entrepreneurship and/or commercialization within Western’s Biochemistry Dept. Hassan will receive $500 for research supplies and equipment to enable his project.