Feasibility Study to Explore NGS technologies for Pathogen Identification
Pathogen detection involving microbial forensics is an emerging field that presents enormous challenges for both the scientific and legal communities. Microbial pathogens of humans represent a highly diverse set of organisms known to cause disease and death. Microbes have also developed a number of elaborate mechanisms for generating natural genetic diversity. One major goal of microbial forensics is to use this genetic diversity to identify the source of a pathogen used to commit a crime or war offensive. Recent advances in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have the potential to significantly alter the technological approaches used in characterizing field samples. This Phase I SBIR grant application proposes three aims: (i) identify the most efficient NGS platform by sequencing E. coli MG1655 using six platforms, (ii), conduct mixing experiments using purified gram negative and gram positive bacteria using the platform selected in aim (i), and (iii) conduct mixing experiments described in aim (ii) in the presence of human blood to simulate animal wound models. The outcome of the Phase I study lays the foundation for a Phase II proposal to develop method/system that would be portable and useful as a point-of-care device for pathogen identification in the field.
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