Natural and engineered pathogens present significant risks to all aspects of our national security—military and public health, environmental health, food safety and global economic and political stability.
To bolster our defense, Draper engineers first-of-a-kind technologies to detect endemic, emerging and engineered pathogenic threats.
We engineer sophisticated systems that incorporate automated sample preparation, custom microfluidics and integrated optical systems in a portable form to meet customer needs for advanced biodetection systems usable in the field.
Rapid, Point-of-need Diagnostics that Inform Treatment
Draper’s biodetection engineering capabilities are exemplified in our work under DARPA’s “Detect It with Gene Editing Technologies” (DIGET) program.
DIGET calls for a portable device capable of screening clinical or environmental samples for up to 1,000 nucleic acid targets—with a program goal of sample to results in 15 minutes. To meet this need, Draper is collaborating with other team members on engineering a massively multiplexed detection (MMD) device suitable for use in the field.
Draper is applying several of its technologies in the device’s design. Draper’s innovative approach to microfluidic device development and proprietary microfluidic mixing technology, ideal for applications with low size, weight, and power requirements, will enable high efficiency fluid transport throughout the disposable cartridge. Draper’s demonstrated experience in the development of high-density DNA microarrays will inform the development path to scale teammate Mammoth’s DETECTR ™ chemistry to 1,000-plex via a microarray of Cas/gRNA complexes, each designed to detect a unique sequence of interest.
Draper’s team is currently focused on optimizing the assay, increasing the level of multiplexing, building automated software control and further maturing the integrated hardware for the MMD device.
A single run of the MMD device will identify the species and strain of an infectious agent and will capture genetically encoded characteristics, such as antimicrobial resistance. The device also will be able to identify host markers—or genetic signatures—that signal the potential for severe health outcomes.
The initial application of this device is as a field-forward system for low-resourced environments, but the technology is extensible for much broader use. With information this device will provide, doctors could determine which patients are likely to need hospitalization and provide the right level of treatment at earlier stages. This means better patient outcomes and more effective allocation of healthcare resources.
- Infectious disease diagnostics
- Environmental monitoring
- Food safety
- Precision medicine
- Healthcare resource allocation