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Pavana Khan

I’m a second year student in the MCDB&G graduate program. My hometown is Dhaka, Bangladesh but having been in Minnesota for undergraduate studies and now for graduate research, Minnesota feels like a second home. I work in Dr. Aaron Engelhart’s laboratory, developing novel isothermal pathogen detection methods. Many current disease detection techniques are limited by high-cost thermal cyclers, fluorescence detection platforms and skilled technicians. My work aims to combine the specificity, sensitivity and versatility of current platforms with the low-resource requirements for isothermal detection systems suitable for point-of-care disease testing, resource-limited field applications, plant pathogen and agricultural diagnostics. Outside of research, I enjoy practising synchronized swimming and performing in theatre!

A Novel, Cost-Effective Method for Disease Detection

One of the biggest challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic has been accessible, low-cost, and rapid detection systems for tracking the spread of the virus. At the Engelhart and Adamala lab, we developed a detection system called Apta-NASBA that can detect SARS-CoV-2, as well as other pathogens, using a different fluorescent colour output per pathogen.