|Sobsey selected to participate in NASA’s first LAUNCH event|
|March 16, 2010|
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill environmental sciences and engineering professor Mark Sobsey, PhD, is one of 10 innovators chosen to participate in the first LAUNCH event, being held March 16-18 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Founding partners of LAUNCH include NASA, U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. State Department and Nike. The inaugural event will focus on innovations involving water supply and water quality problems throughout the world.
Sobsey, Kenan Distinguished Professor of environmental sciences and engineering at UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health, will present his proposal for simple, accessible affordable tests to assess water quality and safety to the 30-member LAUNCH Council. The Council is a diverse and collaborative group of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, scientists, engineers, and leaders in government, media and business, who will advise Sobsey and other presenters how to move their innovations forward into commercial production, field deployment and use.
Sobsey was awarded one of the School's first Gillings Innovation Laboratories to develop and evaluate simple, portable field tests to detect fecal contamination in water. He and his international team are developing simple fecal microbe tests that are as reliable as current standard tests but which will not require sophisticated, expensive and fragile laboratory equipment, infrastructure, electricity or advanced training of test users.
"This is a fantastic opportunity," Sobsey said. "I look forward to reviewing our progress to date and hearing creative ideas about how to get these portable water contamination tests into the hands of people around the world.
"In developing countries and other resource-limited settings (such as after natural disasters), drinking and other water is almost never tested for its microbial quality to estimate its risks of causing waterborne diseases, such as infectious diarrhea, enteric fever, cholera and other life-threatening waterborne diseases," Sobsey said.
"There are no simple, accessible, affordable, laboratory-independent methods to detect and quantify fecal bacteria in water used for drinking or other beneficial purposes. As a result, countless people continue to get sick and die from unsafe water around the world, especially children. The current lack of suitable tests for fecal bacteria in water is both intolerable and unnecessary."
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Note: More information about LAUNCH, the innovators and the Council is available online.
|Last updated March 16, 2010|