Cell-Free Genetic Sensors to Monitor Gut Microbes
Whether viewed as pathogens or as part of a healthy microbiome, bacteria play a role in many human diseases. New technologies are needed for rapid and affordable detection of microbes in the lab or in low resource settings. My project addresses this need using genetically encoded sensors to measure both DNA and RNA from crude bacterial samples. Cell-free expression of these genetic sensors in a freeze-dried paper-based format enables affordable and portable testing. We test this platform using clinically relevant gut microbes.