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Signature Science Gets CDC Contract to Evaluate Molecular Microbial Detection Methods

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Signature Science said yesterday that it has been awarded a contract from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to evaluate and develop molecular tools to detect and follow the spread of specific bacteria and microbial communities in healthcare settings.

Brian Schimmoller, vice president at Austin, Texas-based Signature Science, noted in an email that the 12-month contract has a value of approximately $560,000.

The project's specific objective is to assess the validity of metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses using next-generation sequencing for the detection of transmission events of viable pathogen in healthcare settings. Results will be compared to culture-based methods.

The study will simulate microbial communities, including the ESKAPE pathogens (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter) and Clostridium difficile, in unprotected skin-to-skin contact and indirect surface contact scenarios.

"We envision this project generating valuable data key to CDC's efforts to determine the role that NGS can play in [healthcare-associated infections]," William Thompson, president and CEO at Signature Science, said in a statement. "This award leverages our metagenomics expertise and liberates our researchers to accelerate the application of next-generation sequencing technology as they develop a better understanding of the problem and paths to workable solutions."

Signature Science is a subsidiary of the Southwest Research Institute, and provides multi-disciplinary applied research, technology design and development, and scientific, technical, and operation services to government and industry.