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Jiyoung Lee, PhD

Award Name CCTS Pilot - Public Health Preparedness for Infectious Diseases
Award Date 04/14/2009

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Novel Rapid Detection of P. Aeruginosa Samples

The Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science and the Ohio Center for Public Health Preparedness for Infectious Disease awarded a pilot grant this month to Jiyoung Lee, PhD. Her research project will be examining novel rapid detection of P. aeruginosa bacteria from liquid and aerosol samples in clinical environments.

Lee, Assistant Professor for the Division of Environmental Health Sciences and the Department of Food Science and Technology, has developed this research project in order to develop a rapid detection method to investigate infection and various transmission methods of the P. aeruginosa bacteria, in particular for the health benefits of people suffering from cystic fibrosis or patients with compromised immune systems.

“This bacteria causes various diseases like respiratory infection, swimmer’s ear, or hot tub rash,” said Lee. “It is prevalent all over the place, lives on the surface of everything, and can lead to bacterial infection.”

The main application of Lee’s research is for two specific strains of P. aeruginosa that effect cystic fibrosis patients. One of them is the mucoid strain, which produces slimy layers, interrupting airways and increasing resistance to antibiotic treatments. In the clinical setting, Lee’s research will hinge on verifying the performance of the new developed detection methods to check the different strains.

Currently, methods of bacterial detection can take over 24 hours. Lee and her collaborators, Drs. Tim Buckley and Dan Wozniak, with the use of bioaerosols in the lab, will show genetic markers within samples and help researchers find out how many bacteria are in each sample. Their proposed rapid detection methods will show a presence or absence of the bacteria, as well as the amount of the bacteria that is present (which scientists use to determine if the concentration is rigorous or not).

“A lot of researchers use Polymerase Chain Reaction methods, which are quite fast with 1 day enrichment, so bacteria can grow in a liquid environment,” said Lee. “We are trying to concentrate our liquid or aerosol sample, with or without immunomagnetic separation, to detect presence of the pathogen in 2 hours without an enrichment step. The speed, specificity and the sensitivity of this method would provide intervention strategies where infections [acquired in the hospital setting] happen. The outcome of this project would provide a platform technology for the application of other infectious agents, such as Legionella.”

By Amy Hoover, Wednesday, May 20, 2009

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