Dr. Defne Surujon '14
Research Scientist II, Day Zero Diagnostics
I am currently working at a Boston-based start-up, Day Zero Diagnostics, on rapid detection of pathogenic species in clinical samples. The current gold standard in infectious disease diagnostics is culture-based methods, which are often too slow to inform patient treatment. As a result, clinicians resort to broad-spectrum antibiotics that are often overused and contribute to the ever-growing antibiotic resistance crisis. To address this issue, we are developing an in-vitro diagnostic system that relies on Oxford Nanopore sequencing of pathogen DNA directly from clinical samples. My team's focus is on developing algorithms that use the sequencing data to identify which species are present in the sample. We also support the development of machine learning models that predict antibiotic susceptibility profiles from the same data. By quickly characterizing the pathogen and the drugs it is susceptible to, the treatment options for a patient can be narrowed down to those that are necessary, and most likely to be effective.