Detecting Ricin with Engineered Sensor Switches

Award Information
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Branch: N/A
Contract: NBCHC040084
Agency Tracking Number: 04110568
Amount: $99,981.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
2-212 Center for Science and Technology, Syracuse, NY, 13244
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Mark McPike
 Chief Scientific Officer
 (315) 443-5356
Business Contact
 Mark McPike
Title: Chief Scientific Officer
Phone: (315) 443-5356
Research Institution
OrthoSystems, Inc. creates switchable molecular sensors for bioterror agents and other targets. In this project our OrthoSwitchTM technology platform will be used to develop a rapid diagnostic device for detecting ricin in solution. OrthoSwitchesTM are custom designed molecular sensors that function in the absence of a separation step or attachment to a solid-support. In contrast to antibody-based alternatives, highly selective sensors based on nucleic acids can be engineered to switch between two forms. In Phase I, a bi-stable Ricin OrthoSwitchTM will be tested and improved. This switch will be quenched (dark) in the absence of the ricin, and fluorescent (bright) in its presence; it will be set to trigger from dark to light at a low threshold concentration of ricin. Only the bright form of the switch will present a sequence that is known to have very high affinity for ricin. The described ricin switch will be tested for high sensitivity, selectivity and response time using conventional fluorophore/quencher (FRET) signaling. This ricin switch will then be tested in a prototype detection device developed with technology partners. Commercial applications of our technology lie in rapid detection of biowarfare agents, environmental contaminants, and discovering and evaluating potential antidotes to toxic agents.

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

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