Molecular Diagnostic and Assay Development Hub


The Molecular Diagnostic and Assay Development Hub is focused on expanding our targeted and agnostic diagnostic capabilities against viral threats with pandemic potential.

During the two-year start-up phase a panel of real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests will be developed that will expand our current diagnostic capabilities against viral pathogens with pandemic potential. Currently, a select list of viral pathogens that pose a medical threat are being tested in our laboratory through a wastewater surveillance program launched by the Texas Epidemic Public Health Institute (TEPHI) in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and the UTHealth Houston School of Public Health (SPH).

To be able to respond preemptively to a threat instead of reactively, resources are needed to build additional molecular diagnostic testing and capacity for rapid response to viral threats with pandemic potential. Current activities include developing and validating several real-time PCR assays against respiratory and hemorrhagic viruses included in the WHO list of priority pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential as well some of the vaccine preventable diseases that could re-emerge due to lapse in vaccination or vaccine hesitancy.   Activities in the future will include expansion of personnel l, supplies and capital equipment support needed to rapidly deploy the assays for large scale testing in the event of an epidemic or pandemic. 


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Dr. Vasanthi Avadhanula, Ph.D.

Item Definition

Assistant Professor
Co-center Director