Vancouver high school student develops early-stage HIV test

May 23, 2014

Simon Fraser University has announced that Nicole Ticea, a tenth-grade student from Vancouver, BC, has developed a point-of-care HIV test using an isothermic nucleic acid amplification system. Ticea proved that her test could analyze a pinprick of blood on a lab chip to identify quickly whether someone has been recently infected with the virus.

The test won first place in this year’s B.C. Regional Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge, “Canada’s only national biotechnology competition with mentors from Canada’s top universities and research institutes.” Ticea then traveled to Ottawa to compete against students from throughout Canada in the national final held yesterday, May 22. The top two national winners will go on to the International BioGENEius Challenge in San Diego this June to compete for a $7,500 award.

“Being in the lab,” Ticea says, “really reinforced what I already knew—that scientific research involves dedication, determination, long hours, and a deep-rooted love for the field that makes sacrifices worthwhile.”

SFU graduate student Gursev Anmole, who, along with Mark Brockman, PhD, mentored Ticea in her work, says, “Nicole’s work really made me realize what a big difference a fast, easy-to-administer test for early stage HIV infection could make in prolonging, if not saving, thousands of lives in developing countries.” Read more about Nicole Ticea and point-of-care HIV testing.

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