Innovation Anthology

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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #887
Program Date: 07/27/2017
Program Category: Agriculture, Alberta, Biotechnology, Health and Medicine, Life sciences, Women in Science

Dr Linda Pilarski: Rapid Detection Uses DNA Targets

Dr Linda Pilarski calls her tiny device for the rapid detection of food contamination a "molecular copying machine."

 That's so certain parts of the DNA of e.coli can be quickly multiplied to a level where it’s easily detected.

 Dr Pilarski is a professor emeritus at the University of Alberta, and a specialist in medical miniaturization.

 DR LINDA PILARSKI:  There's a whole series of chemicals that are put into a gel like matrix and then an enzyme that's basically the copying machine.  And there are little priming molecules that say , okay, I want you to copy the adhesion molecule gene.  Or I want you to copy the toxin gene.   And so each one of those is a separate test on any given sample, and yet they are all done at the same time.  Which means that you get all your results very quickly and you get a comprehensive picture of what the pathogen is.   And for example, you can also test for salmonella which is very pathogenic, listeria which causes disease, and campylobacter which is another bug which causes a lot of gastro-intestinal disorders.  

 Dr Pilarski says the testing device is being commercialized by an Alberta company called Amplicet.

 Thanks today to Alberta Innovates

 Learn more at Innovation Anthology.com.

 I'M CHERYL CROUCHER

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