Developing next generation Tuberculosis diagnostics at the point of care for resource poor settings

Benjamin Yong is working on devleoping rapid, sensitive and specific diagnostic assays for the detection of tuberculosis biomarkers in DNA, to meet an urgent global need for expedient screening and active case finding. This objective seeks to fulfill the need for patient-centric care in the World Health Organization's End TB strategy. Its diagnostic assays leverage on technologies (existing or newly developed) that are amenable to performance at the point-of-care, and characteristics include a quick time to result, high specificity and sensitivity, and minimal dependence on laboratory based equipment and devices. I have also worked on expanding the potential of the assay in detecting drug resistant strains of TB and on various readout platforms.

Benjamin was a high school teacher in Singapore for 3 years before embarking on his PhD with the AIBN in the University of Queensland. He has regularly attended and presented his research at conferences locally and internationally, and won the Best Speaker award at the AIBN student conference 2015. To date, Benjamin has three first-author publications in esteemed peer-reviewed journals in his field. He has also received press coverage by the American Chemical Society over his work on an innovative, low-cost and simple method to detect tuberculosis, and his research was featured in the AIBN annual report 2016. 

Key Publications

  1. Ng, B. Y. C; Wee, E. J. H.; West, N. P.; Trau, M.  Rapid DNA detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis - towards single cell sensitivity in point-of-care diagnosis. Sci. Rep., 2015, 5, 15027. doi:10.1038/srep15027.
  2. Ng, B. Y. C; Xiao, W; West, N; Wee, E. J. H; Wang, Y; Trau, M.  Rapid, Single-Cell Electrochemical Detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Using Colloidal Gold Nanoparticles. Anal. Chem., 2015, 87 (20), 10613-10618
  3. Ng, B. Y. C; Wee, E. J. H.; West, N. P.; Trau, M. Naked-Eye Colorimetric and Electrochemical Detection ofMycobacterium tuberculosis—toward Rapid Screening for Active Case Finding. ACS Sens., 2016, 1 (2), 173-178