IEEE Photonics Society

Boston Photonics Society Chapter

Boston Chapter of the IEEE Photonics Society


June 8, 2006
7 PM

Verizon Laboratories

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CANARY Sensor for Rapid, Sensitive Identification of Pathogens

Dr. Todd Rider, MIT Lincoln Laboratory


Abstract:  We have developed a new type of sensor, dubbed CANARY (Cellular Analysis and Notification of Antigen Risks and Yields), that is able to identify pathogens in a very rapid, sensitive, and specific manner. The sensor uses genetically engineered white blood cells that emit light within seconds after being exposed to particular pathogens of interest.

We have produced cells to identify a variety of bacteria and viruses, including anthrax, smallpox, plague, E. coli, and foot-and-mouth virus, and we have shown that the cells can detect fewer than 50 pathogen particles. Because of its speed and sensitivity, CANARY has the potential to revolutionize biowarfare defense, medical diagnostics, food- and water-quality monitoring, and other applications.


Biography:  Todd Rider studied biomedicine and engineering at MIT and received his Ph.D. in 1995.  After working for a startup biotech company in Seattle, he joined MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 1997.  He invented and developed the CANARY biosensor, PANACEA anti-pathogen treatments, EEL biofuel cell, and other projects, and is currently a Senior Staff Scientist at the Lab.


Location:  Verizon Laboratories