J‑WAFS is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-wide (MIT) initiative to promote, coordinate, and lead research related to water and food across all departments and schools.
Timothy Swager, the John D. MacArthur Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, will lead a new project developing technology to extract heavy metals from water.
From September 2016 to August 2018 a multidisciplinary approach to developing real-time, on-site detection of foodborne pathogens is being led by professors Jongyoon Han and Timothy Lu.
By using pathogen-specific bacteriophages engineered to provide sensitive and specific detection of target bacteria, they aim to develop the capability to rapidly distinguish between pathogens versus other microbial flora.
“Bacterial contamination and infection is a significant problem to public health, food, industry, environmental biosafety, and many other areas. However, current methods for detecting bacteria in medical, veterinary, agricultural, food processing, industrial and other contexts are slow, require specialized personnel or equipment to execute, and are often expensive,” according to the project brief.
The seven new grants join nine J-WAFS-funded seed projects already underway that range from food security in the global supply chain, to methods for treating contaminated water.