Early Career Fellow

Dr Padmavathy Bakthavathsalam

Research Summary

Development of molecular-beacon coupled with isothermal PCR as a platform technology for specific and rapid detection of pathogens

The proposed research seek to develop rugged methodology for rapid diagnosis of meningitis causing bacteria by combining loop mediated isothermal amplification, commonly known as LAMP with molecular beacon probes (LAMP-MB) for specific detection. A technology platform is proposed for such type of diagnosis by adopting this protocol in a point-of-care device based on smart phones. An instrument prototype will be demonstrated having acceptable sensitivity and specificity for application in rapid medical diagnostics. The key goals include:

• Design and development of isothermal PCR for detection of seven major bacterial pathogens causing    meningitis.
• Demonstration of enhance specificity and sensitivity in LAMP-MB protocol.
• Solving the technological challenge of non-specific amplification of LAMP signal with sensitive MB based    fluorescence detection and gene specific targeting of pathogen.
• Configuring the instrument prototype with affordable and reliable optical detection
• Adopting novel, low-cost, point-of-care approach by making use of sophisticated smart-phone based    technology available in affordable price with novel LAMP-MB diagnostic protocol.

Figure Legend: Smartphone integrated handheld device for pathogen detection