Professor Miller and URMC colleagues shine light on the flu to develop a better vaccine

December 19, 2016

The effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies from year to year. Researchers do their best to predict what strain of the virus is circulating, but until now, there was no easy way to take sample from the animals and birds that are carriers of the flu.

BME graduate faculty member Ben Miller and his team at URMC have developed new laser-based technology that they hope will lead to an effective vaccine that will involve no guesswork.

Miller said the technology involves taking samples from birds and profiling all the viruses the animal has been exposed to. All the information from that sample is on a chip, and when they shine the laser light, it reveals information about what the virus is.

Miller said, right now, this will be used for flu surveillance, but the hope is it can also be used in cancer research and detection.

The technology will be used in research labs and sold commercially, but Miller said he also hopes this can someday be used by individuals to do blood testing and other analyzing.

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