2018 Competition

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2018

 

8

 

Purdue Biomakers 2018

 

Bronze

 

A Novel Paper-Based Diagnostic Assay For The Detection of Candida Albicans

 

The common yeast infection, vulvovaginal candidiasis, affects 75% of women throughout their lifetime. This disease is caused by the fungal pathogen Candida albicans, which is also a major cause of systemic candidiasis, a rarer but deadly disease with up to a 49% lethality rate. Existing diagnostics for both infection types are lacking in accessibility, speed, or accuracy – far from the ideal test. This project focuses on creating such a test by detecting farnesol and tyrosol, biomarkers indicative of C. albicans, by binding them to the split proteins pqsR and tyrosinase. Upon binding, a split horseradish peroxidase catalyzes and produces a blue color on a paper test strip by oxidizing the substrate tetramethylbenzidine. This test will produce a colorimetric output for a simple-to-understand diagnosis without any infrastructure. It also may provide an easy and cheap way to diagnose candidiasis worldwide, reducing antifungal abuse.