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COVID-19 Response

Undergraduate global projects

BIOE Responds to COVID-19

Clemson Bioengineering faculty members are using their expertise to support research on COVID-19 prevention, preparation and response.

For important COVID-19 updates, please visit Clemson University's website. You will find important updates and information regarding the return to campus.

Led by Delphine Dean, Clemson University researchers create cutting-edge solutions to COVID-19

Delphine Dean, the Ron and Jane Lindsay Professor of Bioengineering, master’s bioengineering student Erica Justice; and Mark Blenner, the McQueen Quattlebaum Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering.

A new Clemson University lab that researchers are calling “a cutting-edge solution to help fight COVID-19” could be stocked with 13 sample-handling robots and have a staff of about 50 students fully trained as early as November.

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Students design COVID-19 protection device for less than $100

Scott Northrup, far, right, watches Prisma Health clinicians try one of the prototypes that Clemson researchers created to help protect healthcare providers from COVID-19

A few supplies available at just about any hardware store for less than $100 can be assembled into a device that helps keep COVID-19 patients from infecting the healthcare providers who take care of them, a group of Clemson University researchers said.

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Clemson University Freshmen Designing UVC Light Device To Help Protect Checkout Clerks

Carleigh Coffin, Ashlyn Soule, and Delphine Dean

Two Clemson University freshmen are thinking outside the box– and shining a light inside it– to combat COVID-19 at the grocery store.

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Elastrin Therapeutics

Elastrin Therapeutics is a biotech startup with technologies to restore hardened and damaged arteries and tissue by targeting the elastic fiber that makes them work.

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SC universities, hospitals join forces to develop coronavirus antibody test

Delphine Dean, Sarah Harcum and Terri Bruce, BIOE faculty members, are volunteering their services to develop the antibody test.

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Melinda Harman: A Solution to Cleaning N95 Masks

Harman is exploring how hospitals could wash and sanitize medical masks.

COVID-19 Research

    Bioengineering; Division of Research
    General research areas: Diagnostics, viral particle capture, chromatography, separations, imaging, antibodies
    Overview: I am currently working with Dr. Ken Marcus (Clemson, Chemistry) to develop an ELISA-based point of care device for early detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Our group at Clemson University has developed an efficient, cost-effective method of virus isolation using patented capillary-channeled polymer (C-CP) fibers to remove virus particles from bodily fluids via hydrophobic interaction chromatography. The fibers are made of commodity polymers, so they are inexpensive, and can be modified to provide specific affinities to SARS-CoV-2 capsid biomarker proteins. The fibers may be packed into columns to create an efficient isolation platform or extruded as films for a lateral flow immuno-assay (LFIA) for use in rapid diagnostics (15 min) from blood, saliva, urine, or other bodily fluid samples without the need for laboratory equipment. As members of the current state-wide COVID-19 task force diagnostics group, Dr. Marcus and I will utilize our C-CP fiber technology to assist with antibody purification for development of ELISA-based serological tests for the state. Our technology will be further utilized to increase the overall sensitivity of these tests, which will be a vital part of the return to work policies for health care workers in SC.
    General research areas: Assay development, instrumentation, electrophysiology, imaging, commercialization
    Overview: I am interested in investigating the viroporin ion channel-like activity associated with the E protein using electrophysiological and imaging techniques. I also have a small business (Circa Bioscience) with experience in SBIR/STTR grants, which could serve as a commercialization partner for university-developed technology.
    General research areas: Sensors, medical device, instrumentation, design, low-resource settings
    Overview: I am the Clemson lead for the Serological Testing and Diagnostics Working Group part of the COVID-19 coalition between Clemson, MUSC, Prisma Health, and University of South Carolina. I am managing meetings and coordinating with the different subgroups to figure out what the needs are. In terms of COVID-19 related research projects, I'm working with Mark Blenner, Teri Bruce, and Ken Marcus to create more sensitive tests for detecting antibodies to COVID-19 in alternative body fluids (saliva) and detecting viral particles in urine for both diagnostics and community health monitoring of waste streams. I am also working on design of personal negative pressure spaces for patients in the hospitals with John DesJardins and Clemson Creative Inquiry students.
    General research areas: Biochemistry, nano technology, biomedical engineering, biofabrication, bioimaging
    Overview: Ya-Ping Sun and I have developed specially designed carbon nanoparticles that have high two-photon emission efficiency for label-free imaging tracing. We will collaborate with MUSC’s eye institute professor Rohrer Baerbel to coat our nanoparticles with COVID-19 viral envelopes to study how COVID-19 virus attacks human eyes and accordingly explore a protection strategy.
    General research areas: Point of care diagnostics, biosensors
    Overview: Our work focuses on development of inexpensive, point of care biosensors for quantification of wound infection. Our thought is that this work could be retooled from detection of bacterial infection to viral infection.
    General research areas: N95 masks, personal protective equipment, reprocessing, reuse, decontamination, sterilization, global health
    Overview: I am Director of the Clemson University GreenMD program focused on medical device recycling and reprocessing. As part of the COVID-19 Bioengineering Innovation Working Group between Clemson University, USC, MUSC, and Prisma Health, I am the Clemson lead for personal protective equipment (PPE) reprocessing projects. My efforts are focused on new technology for cleaning N95 masks and validating a cleaning process that can be used by hospitals to effectively remove biological contaminants on PPE before sterilization. This technology is designed to integrate with existing reprocessing practices and is intended for rapid deployment in healthcare settings. Clinical translation of this technology involves integration with the hydrogen peroxide vapor sterilization systems available at Prisma Health and includes their sterile processing department and Jeremy Mercuri at Clemson. I am also working with Mike Matthews at USC and Mark Johnson at Clemson to potentially integrate this cleaning technology with a carbon dioxide disinfection system. In addition, I am working with Delphine Dean and John DesJardins and Clemson Creative Inquiry students to address other industry applications for this technology and to meet global health needs.
    General research areas: Antiviral, environmental surfaces, disinfectant, chitosan
    Overview: Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings. Currently used surface disinfectants such as sodium hypochlorite, ethanol or hydrogen peroxide provide high level of activity for a limited period of time (typically, less than 4 h). We developed a novel chitosan-based formulation that forms a protective biocidal film on treated surfaces. This film is resistant to rubbing by hand and shows biocidal activity on frequently touched surfaces for at least 48 h. Such formulation could be used as a surface disinfectant either in the form of a spray or as disinfecting wipes. It is advantageous over currently available disinfectants because of its long-term antimicrobial action. In addition, chitosan is a naturally occurring antimicrobial, and its use will satisfy societal demand for greener alternatives to hazardous chemicals.
    General research areas: Targeted therapy, lung repair, drug delivery, cardiovascular diseases
    Overview: We have developed specific nanoparticles that can target degraded elastin in lung and cardiovascular tissues. We have shown that these nanoparticles can be loaded with any drugs and they can slowly release the drug and inhibit inflammation or repair tissue damage that happens in COVID-19 related cytokine storm. We also are looking at repurposing already FDA approved drugs for COVID-19. Collaboration are in place to do quick clinical study.