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Thesis Defense Announcement
To:  The George Mason University Community

*Candidate: Nazly Shafagati
Program: Master of Science in Biology
*
*Date:   Wednesday July 18, 2012
Time:   10:00 a.m.
Place:  George Mason University 
	    Bull Run Hall, Room 256
	    Prince William campus <http://www.gmu.edu/resources/welcome/Directions-to-GMU.html>
	
 
*Thesis Chair:  Dr. Kylene Kehn-Hall

Title: "The Use of Nanoparticles in the Detection of Rift
Valley Fever Virus and Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus"

A copy of the thesis is on reserve in the Johnson Center Library, 
Fairfax campus.  The thesis will not be read at the meeting, but should 
be read in advance. All members of the George Mason University community 
are invited to attend.

ABSTRACT:*
*Rift Valley Fever Virus (90 -- 110 nm in diameter) and Venezuelan 
Equine Encephalitis Virus (approximately 70 nm in diameter) are zoonotic 
viruses that are not only emerging pathogens but also play a role in 
biomedical warfare development.  The current state of diagnosis (e.g. 
ELISA) has led to misdiagnosis early on in infection.  We propose the 
use of nanoparticles (NTs) to capture whole virus, which can then be 
used in detection at stages when viral titers are low and undetectable.  
The use of nanoparticles is simple, reliable, and inexpensive. our 
results demonstrate that nanoparticles are capable of capturing whole 
virus (including from 100% animal serum), which can be detected by both 
q-RT-PCR and plaque assays, and provide at least a 10 fold improvement 
in the detection of viruses.  Importantly, pathogen inactivation is 
possible in combination with nanoparticle virus capture; allowing for 
their safe use in a BSL-2 laboratory.

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