Sandia's anthrax detector recognized with Federal Lab Consortium award

Sandia scientists Jason Harper, Melissa Finley and Thayne Edwards with a BaDx anthrax detector. | Courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories announced on Tuesday that its anthrax detection device netted them the Federal Laboratory Consortium's (FLC) 2015 Excellence in Technology Transfer award.

The Bacillus anthracis Diagnostics (BaDx) device is no larger than an average credit or debit card and is able to function without electricity and refrigeration, allowing it to be used anywhere with ease. 

Specifically the FLC award recognizes the efforts of three scientists that led the development team, Melissa Finley, Jason Harper and Thayne Edwards.

“It has been a remarkable experience to not only work with a Sandia research team in developing cool technology, but also with dedicated business partners to transfer that technology to,” Edwards said. “The awards that have recognized these efforts are another reminder to me of the great people I get to work with and the reward of solving difficult problems together.”

The device requires no power from a battery or external source of electricity, it utilizes growth media to amplify the spores that can be potentially in any sample to detectable levels. It also uses magnetism to bring the sample through different stages until a result is given.

“The device amplifies the B. anthracis so it can detect as few as 100 spores instead of the typical 1-10 million required for detection,” Harper said. 

Anthrax is considered a top tier biological threat. It was utilized in an attack shortly after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The disease can be incredibly dangerous and fatal to human and animal patients.

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Sandia National Labs 7011 East Ave Livermore, CA 94550

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