Molecular Signatures of Biological Pathogens

Period of Performance: 08/08/2002 - 04/14/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Illumigen Biosciences, Inc.
Seattle, WA 98134
Principal Investigator


This proposal is in response to a request for applications from the Chemical and Biological Defense program. Illumigen Biosciences Inc. proposes a series of experiments to explore the utility of using DNA microarrays as a tool to detect gene expression changes that are diagnostic of exposure to biological agents. The ultimate goal of a combined Phase I and II project will be to develop a database that enables the rapid diagnosis (before the onset of symptoms) of exposure to infectious agents in troops in the field. In this Phase I proposal, proof of concept will be evaluated. A study population of thirty subjects will be monitored to describe normal within-individual and between-individual variation in gene expression in proliferating lymphocytes. In addition, each subject will be monitored over a period of six months, and changes in gene expression in response to normally encountered infectious agents will be observed. An emphasis will be placed on the study of upper respiratory tract infections. Expression array data will be correlated with a specific pathological agent using standard diagnostic testing procedures. The Phase I Option Period will be used to develop a database and data analysis methods that enable a larger-scale study in Phase II. A database will be developed that enables correlation of changes in gene expression in blood with exposure to specific biological agents. This database will be essential to develop tools for testing troops for exposure to biological agents in warfare. This database may also be used to develop or enable development of diagnostic tests for civilian clinical laboratory uses.