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ZJU-UIUC Center for Pathogen Diagnostics (CPD)

An essential component of an effective strategy for minimizing the impact of infectious diseases and defending against emerging pathogens and new epidemics/pandemics is pervasive and early diagnosis. Impactful diagnostic technologies must be rapid, cost effective, highly specific, and highly sensitive, regardless of whether they are utilized in a laboratory environment or at the point of care. The economic and human health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and antibiotic resistant microorganisms highlight the shortcomings in existing technologies for viral and bacterial detection and serological testing, as lack of access to effective tests, long waits to obtain results, and unacceptable false positive/negative rates, contribute to quarantine failure, confusion among health authorities, and anxiety of the public. A fundamental limitation of current gold standard pathogen diagnostics stems from their reliance upon detection of specific nucleic acid sequences, in RNA or DNA form, within the pathogen genomes using PCR. As a result, the test requires labor-intensive, laboratory-based protocols for pathogen isolation and lysis with multiple steps that require genome extraction and purification to remove inhibiting materials, enzymatic amplification of nucleic acids, thermal cycling, and interpretation of complex results by professionals. Likewise, animal-borne viral pathogens such as African swine fever virus have been responsible for enormous economic losses in the swine and poultry industries, having recently caused at least a quarter of the worlds pigs to die in a year. Animal pathogens remain an economic threat to Chinese, American, and global agriculture. Similarly, food-borne bacterial pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7, S. Typhimurium, and L. monocytogenes in food samples can be very hazardous, representing an important cause of illness.

Thematic organization of the Center for Pathogen Diagnostics


Co - Director: Huan Hu, Assistant Dean & Professor Zhejiang University - UIUC Institute. (ZJUI)

Co - Director: Brian Cunningham, Donald Biggar Willett Professor in Engineering, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

Molecular Precision Mechanisms:
Sample Processing:
Sensing Specificity & Sensitivity:
Device Fabrication & Instrumentation:
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning:

Lin, Y. (ZJUI), Zhao, Y. (UIUC).
Hu, H. (ZJUI), Bashir, R. (UIUC).
Shao, F. (ZJUI), Wang, X. (UIUC).
Liu, Q. (ZJU), Cunningham, B. T. (UIUC).
Loskot, P. (ZJUI), Varshney, L. (UIUC).


Project-1: Microwells-based Platform for Rapid and Multiplexed Detection of Bacteria and Viruses from Milliliters of Whole Blood.

Bashir, R., Hu, H., Valera, E.

Project-2: Respiratory Viruses (SARS-CoV-2 and influenza) Breathalyzer.

Best-Popescu. C., Chen, H., Cunningham, B.T., Hu, H., Liu, Q., Nguyen, H., Shao, F.,  Wang, X.

Project-3: A Culture-Free Chiral Fluorescence Sensor for High Sensitivity Low-Background Detection.

Hu, H., Lin, Y.,  Wang, X., Zhao, Y.

Project-4: Prediction and trend recognition by AI and machine learning.

Loskot, P., Nguyen, H., Varshney, L.

Project-5: Inferring Aptamer-Protein Interactions.

Loskot, P.,  Varshney, L., Wang, X.

Selected Publication:

Ganguli, Bashir, et al., PNAS, 2020; Li, Cunningham, et al., Nat Commun, 2021; Chauhan, Wang, Nat Mater, 2021; Low, Liu, et al., TrAC Trends Anal Chem, 2021; Goswami, Nguyen, et al., Light Sci Appl, 2021; Mao, Nguyen, et al., Sci Total Environ, 2021; Mao, Nguyen, et al., GeoHealth, 2021; Peinetti, Lu, et al., Sci Adv, 2021; Park, Bashir, et al., ACS Sens, 2021; Berger, King, et al., Anal Chem, 2021; Valera, Bashir, et al., ACS Nano, 2021; Ganguli, Bashir, et al., Anal Chem, 2021; Mostafa, Bashir, et al., Biotechnol Bioeng, 2021; Li, Cunningham, et al., JACS, 2022; Li, Valera, et al., Curr Opin Solid State Mater Sci, 2022; Ren, Wang, et al., Nat Protoc, 2022; Chakraborty, Wang, et al., ACS Infect Dis, 2022; Xiong, Cunningham, et al., Sensors, 2022; Oh, Nguyen, et al., Water Res, 2022; Oh, Nguyen, et al., Appl Environ Microbiol, 2022; Oh, Nguyen, et al., Sci Total Environ, 2022; Zhang, Hu, et al., Front Bioeng Biotechnol, 2022; Ferwana, Varshney, PloS ONE, 2022; Jackelow, Cunningham, et al., Analyst, 2022; Ganguli, Bashir, et al., PNAS, 2022; Lim, Bashir, et al., Lab Chip, 2022; Chauhan, Wang, et al., JACS, 2022; Wen, Hu, et al., Adv Mater Interfaces, 2022.