BME7900 Seminar Series - Stephanie McCalla, PhD



Weill Hall 226


We welcome our last seminar speaker of the semester, Dr. Stephanie McCalla from Montana State University. Dr. McCalla is an Associate Professor in Chemical & Biological Engineering. She is also the BMES Graduate Student Lectureship Speaker.

Rational Design of Nucleic Acid Amplification

Abstact: Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs) are a cornerstone of diagnostic medicine. Due to the low concentration of nucleic acids in clinical samples, most assays require an amplification step to provide a detectable signal. Our lab designs new methods to amplify a signal in the presence of specific nucleic acid targets. These rapid methods run at a single temperature like many emerging techniques; they are unique in their nonlinear signal output. This large nonlinear signal burst is advantageous for highly sensitive and definitive diagnostic outputs. In this talk, I will discuss tools to build and analyze new nucleic acid amplification schemes and show that NAAT design can be impacted by nucleic acid hybridization thermodynamics.

Bio: Dr. McCalla received her BS in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego in 2005 and her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University in 2011. She then moved to the California Institute of Technology for a postdoctoral position in the department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from 2012 – 2014 before starting a faculty position at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Her research interests include molecular diagnostics, microfluidics, and mass transport limitations in cells and tissues.