Paul Yager Research Group
Bioengineering Department, Box 355061, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Current Research Projects

Note that the following projects were funded as of the date on which this page was updated (see last line of page). This does not guarantee that any of them is funded and active as of the date you read this page, or that if it is still funded, there are extra funds to support you. If you are interested in working on one of these projects, please contact PY's assistant (see Yager's home page). Also, there are projects ongoing at the time that have no external funding, but are progressing nonetheless....

Current Project Title Funding Source
A Point-of-Care Diagnostic System for the Developing World The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges in Global Health 14

7/05 – 11/10

A Sensitive Multiplexed Diagnostic Platform Using Disposable 2D Paper Networks NIH NIBIB ARRA Challenge Grant 1RC1EB010593-01
10/09 – 9/11
Low-Cost Rapid Multiplexed Diagnostics for Emerging Diseases DARPA DSO

10/10 – 6/11

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A Point-of-Care Diagnostic System for the Developing World

A Seattle-based consortium led by the Yager group was awarded $15.4 million by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative. The aim of the project was to develop a portable device that would bring the technological power of a modern medical diagnostics laboratory to the developing world. The consortium co-investigators are Patrick Stayton of the University of Washington Department of Bioengineering, Gonzalo Domingo of PATH, Fred Battrell of Micronics, Inc., WA, and Walt Mahoney of Epoch Biosciences Inc (part of the Elitech group).

Developing countries have limited resources and lack facilities to test patients whose symptoms indicate they may have a life-threatening infectious disease. The consortium's efforts were directed toward filling the need for an affordable, portable system that does point-of-care tests for multiple analytes from a single sample and provides results in a matter of minutes. The project developed and tested a prototype of an instrument--the DxBox--that healthcare workers could bring to remote areas of the developing world to quickly and easily make diagnoses. The chemical processes--immunoassays and PCR-based nucleic acid amplification--are carried out on disposable plastic lab cards that contain all the reagents, can be stored at ambient conditions for a year, and use a few drops of blood as the sample. The initial clinical target was a panel of tests that differentiate between six pathogens that are likely to cause fever in the developing world. Micronics, Inc. is responsible for commercializing the DxBox after the end of the project in November of 2010.

The Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative is a major international effort to achieve scientific breakthroughs against diseases that kill millions of people each year in the world's poorest countries.

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A Sensitive Multiplexed Diagnostic Platform Using Disposable 2D Paper Networks

This 2-year project was funded by NIH/NIBIB through the ARRA Challenge Grant mechanism. The aim is to demonstrate the capabilities of a two-dimensional paper network (2DPN) to perform complex sequences of chemical processes resulting in enhanced detection of biomolecules. The 2DPN format 1) is instrument-free, 2) can be operated by an untrained user, 3) allows fully quantitative multiplexed analyte measurement using a simple camera, and 4) is inexpensive enough to be disposable. In essence, it will the DxBox where the box will be replaced by a cell phone.

A multiplexed diagnostics platform that has higher sensitivity and greater functionality than current lateral flow tests, but at a cost-per-test and with an ease-of-use comparable to those tests, has the potential for very positive impact on human heath. This type of device could be of use to diagnose a number of health conditions in many low-resource settings in the U.S. and the developing world. In the developed world, the biggest impact would be for use in physicians’ office laboratories, nursing homes, hospitals, and in the home.

Potential high impact applications are those in which there is a need for significantly improved detection sensitivity to enable earlier diagnosis (and treatment) than is possible with current lateral flow tests. These include multiplexed testing for the full range of infectious agents, as well as biomarkers for acute and chronic disease

The initial target in this project is a biplexed immunoassay for detection of IgM that is characteristic of two viral diseases. The detection will be amplified to enhance sensitivity.

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Low-Cost Rapid Multiplexed Diagnostics for Emerging Diseases

This is a 9-month DARPA DSO "seedling project", the aim of which is to demonstrate that the 2DPN platform can be used for rapid point-of-care detection of emerging diseases. The 2DPN is a sensitive instrument-free multiplexed diagnostic platform using disposable devices that are comparable in cost and ease of use to conventional lateral flow tests.

Based on previous experience, we have chosen detection of dengue as an initial target. Dengue is an emerging infectious disease that infects over 50 million people each year in 100 countries (with recent cases being reported in Hawaii, Texas, and Florida), and is classified by NIAID as a Group III pathogen with bioterrorism potential.

The demonstration of the platform will be a multi-analyte immunoassay for the four serotypes of dengue virus, as well as for previous dengue infection (IgG). The platform will be applicable to other targets including other emerging infectious diseases that could affect deployed military personnel. The anticipated greater sensitivity and multiplexing of the proposed 2DPN platform are improvements over conventional lateral flow tests for the effective early diagnosis of dengue (e.g. identification of previous infection increases the risk of developing dengue haemorrhagic fever).

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revised 8/22/10