Low Cost DNA Amplification and Detection
The ND PCR is a low-cost, field-portable PCR that allows for DNA amplification outside of a traditional lab environment.
The ND PCR will be used by field biologists studying ecology and evolution. We are also exploring applications related to identification of invasive species and monitoring of infectious disease vectors. Current PCR technologies are too expensive to be used by many field biologists who cannot risk breaking such an expensive machine and cannot afford the equipment. Along with the price, leading PCR models are bulky and can not feasibly be taken into the field. The undergraduates are creating a viable counter option to the leading PCR models that can solve both of these problems.
The ND PCR uses low-cost electronics and leverages open-source projects like OpenPCR to achieve DNA amplification at a fraction of the cost of most commercial lab PCRs. Current projects look at new methods of providing high quality medical devices at low cost. Examples include solar-powered PCR systems for microfuidic and laser absorption spectroscopy of DNA and low-cost endoscopes.