FAU Lands $1.3 Million NIH Grant for Rapid, Automated HIV Self-test
With this grant, researchers are developing an affordable, disposable self-testing HIV-1 chip that can selectively detect HIV from whole blood samples, be highly sensitive to detect HIV during the acute infection, treatment and viral rebound; be rapid within 40 minutes; highly stable without requiring refrigeration; and fully automated providing true sample-in-answer-out ability. “The greatest challenge to reducing HIV in developing countries that have limited resources is the absence of self-testing assays for viral load and the lack of trained technicians as well as modern laboratory infrastructure,” said Waseem Asghar, Ph.D., principal investigator and an associate professor in FAU’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science within the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Asghar is developing this technology with co-investigator Massimo Caputi, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical science in FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine, who has expertise in the molecular biology of HIV-1 and the mechanisms of regulating cellular and viral splicing. Research conducted by the faculty and their teams expose students to technology innovations that push the current state-of-the art of the disciplines. In recent years, the University has doubled its research expenditures and outpaced its peers in student achievement rates.