The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, is funding the establishment of a network of multi-institution centers for countermeasures to "dirty bombs" or other attacks involving radioactive materials. As collaborators in the project, the Biodesign Institute will garner $5.9 million and TGen will receive $3 million, for a total of nearly $9 million in funding over the next five years.
The grant represents the first-ever federal award to include a university-led product development core to measure radiation exposure, also known as biodosimetry. Frederic Zenhausern, director of the Biodesign Institute's Center for Applied NanoBioscience, will lead a team of experts to coordinate all aspects of product development projects and core technologies.
"Monitoring the biological response of civilian and military populations when exposed to low dose radiation of a dirty bomb or other environmental radioactive threat could significantly improve risk management," said Zenhausern, who is also a professor in ASU's Fulton School of Engineering.
At TGen, Jeffrey Trent and Michael Bittner, who jointly worked on "biosignatures" of radiation response while at the National Institutes of Health, will lead a team that will provide informatics and biostatistical support.
"TGen's focus on mathematical tools, combined with ASU's sophisticated biocomputing platforms are a key component to the consortium's goal of developing diagnostic tests following a potentially catastrophic radiological incident," said Trent. "The ability to rapidly analyze an individual's genetic signature of radiation exposure levels could be remarkably important in triaging patients."