$20. Includes box lunch. Reservations are limited. Walk-ups are welcome on a space available basis, due to room capacity. A limited number of lunches will be available for purchase.
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Garage parking is available at the AT&T Conference Center for $4, with validation at The Spirit Gift Shop (located off the hotel side lobby, level L).
Imagine the day when you will simply spit on a piece of paper to test yourself for the flu. The possibility that simple, point-of-sale consumer diagnostics — like today’s home pregnancy tests — could be mass marketed for a variety of diseases will not only change how the pharmaceutical industry delivers treatments, it may also transform the hallowed doctor-patient relationship.
Join us for lunch on May 3 to hear Dr. Andrew Ellington, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at The University of Texas at Austin, describe his research using DNA computation to develop innovative point-of-care diagnostics. He will talk about how far his research has come, and what the future holds.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Ellington is developing a portable, cheap and disposable field test for tuberculosis — a strip of paper embedded with synthetic DNA. This product could be the technological basis to develop testing for other types of disease.
DNA computation is, as its name implies, completely programmable and can be reconfigured for a variety of diseases. The revolutions in biotechnology and genomics over the last several decades have made DNA a relatively cheap commodity. DNA computation in point-of-care diagnostics has special advantages in developing economies countries because it takes place without enzymes, which often require electricity and refrigeration.
Dr. Andrew Ellington received his B.S. in biochemistry from Michigan State University in 1981, and his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Harvard in 1988. As a graduate student he worked with Dr. Steve Benner on the evolutionary optimization of dehydrogenase isozymes. His post-doctoral work was with Dr. Jack Szostak at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he developed methods for the in vitro selection of functional nucleic acids and coined the term 'aptamer.'
Dr. Ellington began his academic career as an assistant professor of chemistry at Indiana University in 1992 and continued to develop selection methods. He’s received the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator, Cottrell, and Pew Scholar awards. In 1998 he moved to The University of Texas at Austin and is now the Fraser Professor of Biochemistry. Dr. Ellington's lab works on the development of functional nucleic acids for practical applications, including aptamer biosensors, allosteric ribozyme logic gates (aptazymes), and internalizing nucleic acids that can deliver siRNAs to cells. The next leap forward will hopefully be to develop synthetic genetic circuits that can perform amorphous computations. Dr. Ellington was a member of the Defense Science Study Group, and is active in the DIA advisory group Biochem2020.