Health

Molecular approaches to detect and mitigate COVID-19

Research support to capture and disable coronavirus spikes

Research support to capture and disable coronavirus spikes

Ronit Freeman, an associate professor of applied physical sciences and biomedical engineering in the College of Arts & Sciences, received a total of $275,000 through the Research Corporation for Science Advancement’s COVID-19 Initiative: Detecting and Mitigating Epidemics for her work with two interdisciplinary teams.

Freeman and her co-investigators are primarily focused on the crown of spikes decorating the virus as they are the key components that unlock viral entry to host cells. How coronaviruses enter cells is an important determinant of viral infectivity and a major target for host immune surveillance and human intervention strategies. The team will employ computational models of different spike structures along the infection pathway and develop “molecular cages” that will effectively lock the spike conformations in place. These new capture agents have the potential to block virus entry and effectively stop it at the gate. 

“There is severe urgency for accurate point-of-care detection of COVID-19,” said Freeman. Their technology will utilize peptide and nucleic acid sequences able to trap the viral spikes and generate a unique surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) signal. Their goal is to have a working COVID-19 handheld sensor in a few months.

 

Read the completeCarolina Story… Opens in new window

.

UNC College of Arts & Sciences Funding Priorities

Readers Also Viewed...

Researcher entering data into a machine.
Research

Expanding Nanotechnology Access

Bringing national acclaim and nanotechnology resources to our region.

Headshots of new professors in Carolina
Faculty Support

Supporting Underrepresented Scholars

Building a culturally diverse intellectual community

Screenshot of a WRAL webpage that features a presentation about the impact of COVID-19 on North Carolina, as presented by UNC Public Policy graduates and students
Student Support

Impacting Public Policy

Using findings to draw attention to those who are most vulnerable

Leadership

Leading by Example

Prioritizing race, reckoning, memory and opportunity at Carolina

Community

Navigating the new workplace

Understanding disruptions to the workplace

Innovation

Introducing ‘Southern Futures’

New podcast explores the diverse and changing American South