DNAzyme-based biosensors for point of care disease diagnostics

Nicole Hasick (PhD Candidate)
School of BABS and Research Scientist at SpeeDx
27 July 2018 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Rountree Room Level 3, Biological Sciences Building D26

Rapid, sensitive and affordable molecular diagnostic tests that operate in point of care (POC) settings are in high demand and essential for effective and timely treatment of disease. Unfortunately, the availability and use of these tests in clinical settings remains limited. This seminar will explore a novel application of DNA enzymes (DNAzymes) for enhancing DNA detection of infectious pathogens and its potential for providing new avenues for POC diagnostics. Nicole has engineered a rapid DNA detection method for identifying the presence of pathogens, such as a Chlamydia trachomatis, in less than 30 minutes. The test is entirely protein free, constructed from low-cost materials and operated using simple and affordable instrumentation. She will discuss how this test can be easily adapted for the detection of any DNA or RNA target of choice and the impact this could have for the management of infectious disease in the future. Nicole will also discuss her experiences as an industry-based PhD student. 

Speaker Biography: Nicole is a molecular biotechnologist interested in developing analytical technologies using catalytic nucleic acids. Nicole uses DNAzymes to engineer DNA detection methods aimed at amplifying signal instead of amplifying target. Nicole completed her PhD through BABS in conjunction with SpeeDx, a Sydney based molecular diagnostics company. SpeeDx are the inventors of several platform technologies which have been used to develop, manufacture and sell medical tests throughout the world. In this seminar, Nicole discusses her contributions to the SpeeDx IP portfolio with the invention of her DNAzyme-based signal amplification technology.