California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System

Dr. Hailu Kinde receives Agilent Technologies, Inc. "Thought Leader" award

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Agilent Technologies, Inc. recently provided a gift of cash, reagents and equipment to Dr. Hailu Kinde as part of the Agilent Thought Leadership Award. This gift will be used to develop a new technology to rapidly identify Salmonella subtypes and other food-borne bacteria that cause illness in humans and animals. A ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the kick-off of the project was held with representatives from Agilent and UC Davis on October 25th at the CAHFS-Thurman Laboratory.

This novel tool will integrate PCR and genomics with mass tagging for the detection and characterization of disease-causing bacteria. The project will leverage Agilent’s state-of-the-art equipment and UC Davis' scientific expertise to reduce the time it takes to identify sources of food-borne illness from a week down to a few hours. This rapid turn-around of test results will enable physicians, veterinarians, and regulatory agencies to quickly treat affected humans and animals, and contain the spread of disease. The technology will have a practical global application, since the testing can be expanded to target specific bacteria of concern in different parts of the world, enabling regulators and food producers to remove implicated food items from human consumption. Dr. Kinde remarked,

“The techniques currently used to identify specific types of Salmonella were developed in the previous century. They require a number of complex laboratory procedures which are often laborious, and can take up to a week to complete. In this era when food can be distributed across the globe in less than a day, it is critical that we have better tools to quickly identify the source of contamination before it spreads into the food supply. This exciting new project is a giant step toward reducing the time it takes to get test results, and will make our food safer".