The mission of the Center for Molecular and Cell Diagnostics at Tulane University is to develop and validate integrated platforms that can detect and quantitate non-invasive biomarkers to rapidly and accurately diagnose important chronic and acute disease conditions caused by bacterial and viral infections, cancer, and tissue injury. Our goal is to develop and validate assays that can be used for early disease diagnosis to reduce missed or delayed diagnoses and for real-time treatment monitoring to permit rapid assessment of treatment effectiveness. This proposal will employ a CRISPR-enhanced reverse transcriptase recombinase polymerase amplification (RT-RPA) assay to measure SARS-CoV-2 target region in circulating exosomes to allow rapid and streamlined diagnosis of COVID-19 cases throughout infection. My role in this project will be to assist in the development of standard operating procedures for the production and use of materials employed in this assay. I believe that my experience with the development of exosome assays, including a related grant developing a blood-based exosome assay to diagnose tuberculosis, and my experience operating a biomarker analysis core service that supported two pharmocogenetic studies and a Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center (DERC) grant has provided a strong background for the responsibilities that I will assume in this grant.
Our Center’s research focuses on developing and validating the integrated nanotechnique-based strategies to perform marker discovery and molecular diagnostics from peripheral blood, and to provide a translatable solution for personalized medicine.