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Dr. Leyla Soleymani Rises to the Global Health ChallengeAugust 2, 2016

Dr. Leyla Soleymani, assistant professor in the department of Engineering Physics, is developing new diagnostic technologies to address global health challenges, such as the emerging multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

Recently, Dr. Soleymani has developed one of the most sensitive microchips for DNA detection to date. She hopes to use this to change the way tuberculosis is diagnosed. TB is the cause of nearly 1.5 million deaths per year world-wide and leaves many children orphaned.

Currently, TB is diagnosed in laboratories by skilled technicians and this testing is often unavailable to the resource-poor and remote communities in high TB-burdened areas. Additionally, obtaining the results can take up to two months.

In collaboration with Dr. N.B. Ramachandra and his research group at the University of Mysore, India, Dr. Soleymani hopes to overcome these limitations.

Her idea is to move the testing from the research lab to the point of need. Her electronic microchip testing device is inexpensive, portable, and can be operated by anyone with basic training. The diagnostic results are obtained in less than one hour.

“The TB micro-test will enable immediate therapy initiation, improve disease outcome, and reduce TB mortality rate”, says Soleymani.