Wright Lab Travels

Due to the nature of our work in the lab, we are afforded plenty of opportunities to travel -- not only to present our work at conferences, but also to field test some of our developing technologies. Featured below are a few of our recent trips.

Rhode Island -- July 2014 -- Gordon Research Conference

Kim Fong and Lauren Gibson traveled with Dr. Wright to attend the Gordon Research Conference on the Chemistry and Biology of Tetrapyrroles. Lauren and Kim both presented posters titled "Absorbant, Fluorescent and Catalytic Signal Amplification with Porphyrins" and "Exploring Heme Distribution as a Validation Method for the Hemozoin Drug Target Pathway in Plasmodium falciparum," respectively.

Haiti -- January 2014 -- RDT Garage Field Test

The Haiti trip with the RDT garage was mainly to serve as a "beta" test for the device. We tagged along with St. Matthew Catholic Church and their yearly medical mission to the small village of Gobert. We mainly wanted to ensure we understood the workflow from collecting a patient sample, adding our reagents and running the test in our device. In the 6 days of clinic work, the entire team saw ~2500 patients and we tested ~125 people for malaria. Ironically, no one flagged as having malaria in that region. Gobert is in the mountains and it was the dry season, so these factors may explain why we saw what we saw. However, we collected dried blood spots for all the patients for further testing in the lab using PCR to validate whether they were true negatives. Despite not having any positive results, we have a much better idea of the workflow from patient to result, so that when we go to Zambia, we have already had experience behind our belt.


Cape Town -- October 2013 -- Testing Automated Nucleic Acid Extraction

For the past 5 years, our lab, in collaboration with Dr. Rick Haselton's lab in Biomedical Engineering have been developing platform extraction devices for simplifying sample processing. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, we have worked hard to develop extraction devices for purifying proteins and nucleic acids from biological samples. A collaboration between us and Dr. Johnathan Blackburn's lab at the University of Cape Town arose out of attending meetings in Seattle with other Gates funded researchers. Keersten Davis and Hali Bordelon (from the Haselton Lab) flew to Cape Town to test our automated extraction device on a host of frozen TB patient urine samples they had stored in the lab. The goal was to determine whether a specific nucleic acid fragment of the TB virus could be detected in urine.