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Vanegas Awarded Major Grants to Study SARS-CoV-2 Virus

February 18, 2021

Diana Vanegas, Assistant Professor of Biosystems Engineering in the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, has received an award totaling close to $900 K from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The title of her two year project is Development of an Automated Diagnostic Platform for SARS-CoV-2 Monitoring in Vulnerable Areas.  The devastation caused by emerging pathogens with fast transmission capacity, such as SARS-CoV-2, has demonstrated the importance of preparedness for future viral outbreaks; this includes the ability for fast deployment of in-situ testing tools and epidemiological surveillance with high temporal and spatial resolution; particularly in places that are most vulnerable to becoming reservoirs of infectious agents. The research team intends to develop a versatile multiplexing detection platform for SARS-CoV-2 in saliva.  This project is a multi-institutional effort between Clemson University (lead university), Iowa State University, University of Hawaii, and University of Florida. Dr. Vanegas’ collaborator on this project is Dr. Eric McLamore, Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.

Related to their NIH award, Vanegas and McLamore were one of five teams that received funding to develop tests and strategies that Clemson University and the community can use to continue fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.  While supporting the priorities of the Health Innovation Cluster within the ClemsonForward strategic plan, their research will help build upon COVID research and data sets gathered by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) lab recently established at Clemson.  Vanegas and McLamore will be working in collaboration with Dr. Delphine Dean in Clemson’s REDDI (Research and Education in Disease Diagnostics Intervention) lab.

Congratulations to Dr. Vanegas on these major new awards.