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Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Program
Phase 7 (2017 Deadline)

Rapid bacteria identification in rural communities of Pakistan via cloud storage
US Partner: Ya-Hong Xie, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Pakistan Partner: Khalid Mahmood, Government College University, Faisalabad
 
Project summary
This project will establish a protocol for fast and low cost identification of bacteria for use in rural areas of Pakistan and in the US using a nano-engineered assay developed by UCLA. Commercialization efforts are planned with Sensorem, LLC, a US-based company.

Progress Reports

2018: The project aims to develop a nano-technology enabled platform for rapid identification of bacteria in the rural regions of Pakistan. It is also expected to be a vehicle for enhancing the educational infrastructure in Pakistani universities (Government College University Faisalabad, GCUF) through collaboration with UCLA.
During the first full year of the project, significant progress was made in the direction laid out in the original proposal at both GCUF and UCLA.

The GCUF team has all the team members trained at a local hospital (Bahawal Victoria Hospital BVH) in terms of how to collect and handle patient samples and properly dispose of these samples after the measurements. They have taken delivery of a brand-new Raman spectrometer and are expecting the delivery of a scanning electron microscope, thereby significantly enhanced the experimental infrastructure of the university. One of the female faculty members, Ms. Salma Irfan is currently visiting UCLA where she is receiving training by the UCLA group for proper usage of the unique nano-technology platform invented by the UCLA group for analyzing patient blood samples for bacterial infection.

The UCLA team has been improving the nano-technology platform via computer aided design followed by nano-fabrication. A number of nano-structured plasmonic substrates has been supplied to the GCUF team. While waiting for the delivery of the Raman spectrometer at GCUF, the UCLA team has made headway in establishing the capability of the nano-technology platform in analyzing patient cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for the purpose of being potentially used as biology-based test method for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. Studies have also been conducted for successful identification of exosomes with tremendous potential in the diagnosis of an array of disorders including cancer. Finally, successful identification of colon cancer cells has been demonstrated. These accomplishments have resulted in five manuscripts with three of them published so far.

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