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
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.

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.