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Draper to Mature DNA-Based Biothreat Detection Tech for ODNI

Draper Lab
Draper Lab

Charles Stark Draper Laboratory has received a follow-on contract to continue developing a biothreat detection tool for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Defense Magazine reported Monday.

In July, Draper secured an 18-month, $7.8M award to help ODNI's Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity develop a bioinformatics tool as part of the Finding Engineering-Linked Indicators program.

The microarray hardware is meant to identify biologically modified organisms through miniature microarray hardware that generates data based on DNA sequencing. 

The tool is envisioned to support applications such as food inspection, environmental monitoring and other threat detection operations, according to National Defense's report.

Phase 2 of the FELIX effort covers the maturation and refinement of the tool's DNA analysis features.

Kirsty McFarland, a molecular microbiologist at Draper, told the publication that the lab underwent two different testing periods for the FELIX effort that involved the analysis of 100 samples.

Draper developed a visual dashboard and a computational pipeline to help automate data conversion and processing activities that complement the threat-detection tool, she noted.

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