U.S. Rep. Diaz-Balart Presents FGCU with $1.5 Million for
Dual-Use Technologies Project
FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University announced today U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of the 25th District of Florida presented the University with a check for $1.5 million for Dual-Use Technologies Project to conduct research that will help develop the United States' biodefense potential and provide new technologies with civilian applications.
"I am proud to continue supporting Florida Gulf Coast University in their vital research for the safety of our troops abroad and Americans here at home," said Diaz-Balart. "I look forward to joining President Bradshaw at Florida Gulf Coast University to recognize the efforts of the team of experts that lead this research project."
FGCU researchers purposely designed the program to have dual use applications, which are technologies and capabilities that have both military and civilian uses. FGCU scientists will use federally approved benign surrogates to develop biodefense technologies that help expand and enhance the U.S.'s security biological capabilities. FGCU will not use real biological agents.
There is a critical need for new technologies that can be used for the rapid detection, immobilization, and destruction of bio-threat agents, toxins and pathogens important to biodefense efforts and public health. The specific surface structural properties of pathogenic microbes can be used to develop new types of specific-binding molecular recognition devices that can be attached to surfaces, tethered to signaling or disinfection systems, or utilized as free chemistries to detect, capture, or destroy pathogens of interest.
At Florida Gulf Coast University, we have established the capability to develop and test new biocides, platform sensor technologies, and binding/inactivating complexes that can be utilized both individually, and as combined technologies. These new technologies can be used to develop new pathogen detection, capture and destruction instruments. The Biotechnology Research Group at Florida Gulf Coast University has assembled a team of chemists, molecular biologists, and virologists to address these questions.
"We are sincerely appreciative of the efforts Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart has put forth on behalf of FGCU," said associate vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs Tom Roberts. "His interest in FGCU has greatly enhanced our research programs and helped to put us on the map in terms of basic scientific research capabilities. Already our scientists have made discoveries that have led to invention disclosures, provisional patent applications, and a pending patent that we anticipate will help diversify the economy of Southwest Florida."
FGCU scientists believe their work will further develop research opportunities for students, contribute to meeting the national need for the pursuit of quantitative sciences and math, increase technologies that improve public health around the nation, enhance understanding of issues that will affect life for the rest of the century, and contribute to developing an informed public.
Principal investigators on the project are professors in the College of Arts and Sciences: professor Jose Barreto, and associate professors of biotechnology Sharon Isern and Scott Michael.
For more information, contact associate vice president for Community Relations Audrea Anderson at (239) 590-1083.