Alessandro Cocci
2013, Italy
Portable and simple diagnostic tests for Real Time PCR

A portable and easy-to-use genetic identification system

The e-health group within STMicroelectronics is a research team composed primarily by engineers and biologists with the task to develop highly technological systems and find innovative solutions in the biotechnology field. One of them is Alessandro Cocci, who has been awarded the TR35 Italy Innovator award. The main activity of their research is to develop a Lab-on-a-chip micro-electronic device to perform Real-Time PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction). The PCR is a typical laboratory technique which is used to amplify and detect a targeted DNA molecule. By taking advantage of STMicroelectronics's know-how in terms of silica technologies, Cocci and his team developed a compact, portable and easy-to-use system which can make this technology more widely available. The tool is now in production phase and being CE-IVD certified for diagnostic analysis, and it aroused great interest internationally. This lead to establishing further contacts with several research centres which allowed to optimise and tune the final system.

Besides this solution, Cocci and his team are now working on a DNA preparation and extraction system which would show the same characteristics and benefits in terms of portability and usability. This will allow to obtain the first portable tool capable of performing a PCR Real-Time analysis by operating directly on a biological sample (saliva, blood or hair).