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STTR Phase I: Allosteric DNAzyme Sensors for Practical Detection of Cyanotoxins

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0711622
Agency Tracking Number: 0711622
Amount: $149,995.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: BT
Solicitation Number: NSF 06-598
Solicitation Year: 2006
Award Year: 2007
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
2001 South First St. Suite 201 6745 HOLLISTER AVENUE
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
DUNS: 170941129
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Juewen Liu
 (217) 265-0829
Business Contact
 Geng Lu
Title: PhD
Phone: (217) 377-9806
Research Institution
 Univ of IL Urbana-Champaign
 Scott K Silverman
1901 South First St
Urbana, IL 61801 5722
United States

 (217) 244-4489
 Nonprofit college or university

This STTR Phase I research will develop detection methods using allosteric DNAzymes (aptazymes) to detect cyanobacterial toxins that occur throughout the world in both fresh and brackish water. Cyanotoxins present a public safety hazard through contamination of drinking water supplies by blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), and sensitive detection of cyanotoxins has been a long-standing challenge. Although instrumented and immunological methods have been developed, a fast and accurate detection kit with high sensitivity and selectivity is still not available and its development would be very desirable. DzymeTech Inc. and the laboratories at the University of Illinois have previously developed many functional DNA-based sensors for metal ions and small molecules such as cocaine. In this research, a related combinatorial selection method will be used to obtain DNAzymes that are allosterically activated by cyanobacterial toxins. By attaching fluorophore-quencher pairs or gold nanoparticles to the DNA, practical sensors that target cyanobacterial toxins will be generated.Successful completion of this Phase I project will establish the feasibility of using nucleic acids to recognize cyanotoxins and thus have broad impact on a number of fields such as medical diagnostics, bioorganic chemistry, and nanotechnology. Aptazyme-based cyanobacterial toxin sensors will have substantial commercial value. Improved cyanotoxin sensors are urgently needed for rapid response to cyanobacterial outbreaks. These sensors will allow government agencies to make rapid judgments about treatment options and will allow the general public to have safer drinking water. The identification of aptazymes that can recognize cyanotoxins will also broaden our fundamental knowledge of interactions between nucleic acids and small molecules.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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