Editorial Article: Bringing Lab Quality Biodetection Technology to the Field

Developing portable technology to detect high-consequence pathogens

08 Apr 2016

Learn how scientists are using the BioTek FLx800 Multi-Detection Microplate Reader to help develop biohazard detection platforms. 


SelectScience® spoke to Dr Gabriel Peckham, Principal Investigator, Black Ivory Biotech about his research into developing new transportable technologies for biodetection.

Black Ivory Biotech is focused on the development of “assays, software and electronic equipment for multiplex, low weight and power portable biodetection platforms”, which are “designed to be used by military, first responders and point-of-care technicians to detect high-consequence pathogens in people or the environment”, stated Dr Peckham.

Dr Peckham, whose previous work focused on anthrax detection, explained that the platforms are made to enable “high accuracy and sensitivity, but with a short sample-to-signal time,” an important consideration for the applications of this technology. “In these high-stress situations, it is important to have equipment that can be easily transported to the site of a potential threat without excessive weight and equipment and provide quality information quickly with minimal risk to the operator.” 


Developing detection technologies for hazardous pathogens

We love this instrument, it is several instruments in one.

Dr. Gabriel Peckham

Black Ivory Biotech

“We perform a lot of commercially available antibody and DNA-based detection techniques to compare to our own methods.” Dr Peckham commented. “ELISA, lateral flow devices (aka immunochromatography strips), and PCR, are all used in addition to the techniques needed to develop our own technologies.”

As part of this research Dr Peckham uses the BioTek FLx800 Multi-Detection Microplate Reader to “evaluate antibody binding patterns, quantify proteins and DNA, determine conjugation efficiency and enzyme specific activity as well as running traditional ELISAs.” Dr Peckham highlighted that the “flexibility” and “all-in-one, one footprint” design of the FLx800 system were of benefit to his research.


Future perspective

Dr Peckham commented that research findings using these techniques will help to bring “lab-quality biodetection to the field, for the non-scientist” and aim to “make biodetection less expensive, easier to execute and more portable than the state-of-the-art.”

In the future Dr Peckham hopes to focus “product development in the biosciences” for which “a multi-functional microplate reader will always be a key lab instrument for several routine and some not so routine procedures.”