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NSERC Presents 2 Minutes with Shana Kelley and Edward H. Sargent

Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto


Video Name

2 Minutes with Shana Kelley and Edward H. Sargent


NSERC Communications



Release Date

February 16, 2016


Shana Kelley and Edward H. Sargent have combined their expertise to develop a breakthrough medical diagnostic platform called AuRA. The result of an 11-year partnership, their rapid and reliable point-of-care testing will transform the way health care is delivered. More specific and rapid diagnoses will help limit the spread of infectious disease and control antibiotic resistance. Dr. Kelley and Dr. Sargent won NSERC's Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering in 2016.

Shana Kelley

If you think about all of the problems that plague the medical system here, that affect people in the developing world, some of these are really kind of unnecessary problems. I mean, millions of people die every year of tuberculosis because thereís not good ways to diagnose tuberculosis on the spot and to know how to treat it. Today, a sample is taken from the patient and then sent to a lab, which may be 10 or a 100 miles away. Sending that sample, getting the results back, it takes a lot of time. So weíve been working on tools to allow disease to be diagnosed much faster.

Edward H. Sargent

We were both really interested in nanomaterials and what you could do with them. And she brought this great depth in nucleic acids chemistry, so in the chemistry of DNA. And I was interested in nanomaterials more as an engineer, trying to make materials with better properties. And so by working together, Shana and I and our teams were able to go from this scientific proof of principle of incredibly sensitive DNA detection and take it to something that could be engineered, constructed on a manufacturable platform.

Shana Kelley

In 2010 we thought that the technology was mature enough to maybe leave the academic lab and be the foundation for a company, so we started Xagenic. We have plans to apply the technology to problems that are really kind of developing world problems.

Edward H. Sargent

Shana and her team are taking this technology forward into the marketplace with Xagenic, which is really going to have a revolutionary impact on healthcare. Itís going to change the way disease diagnosis occurs.

Shana Kelley

A sample is taken from a patient, itís put into the cartridge, the cartridge goes into the testing instrument, and then a diagnostic test result is returned 20 minutes later. Itís been very exciting to see something go from kind of our early proof of concept into a real product.