"We are working to advance pathogen detection systems to increase the speed and accuracy of detection and to reduce public concerns on biological warfare threats," said Curtis Mosher, principal investigator on the project. "[The NanoArray platform] is an ideal format for time-sensitive situations that require a great deal of sensitivity and accuracy, like bioterrorism."

The funding comes in the form of a Phase 1 SBIR/NIH/NIAH (Small Business Innovation Research/National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) grant. In this project, BioForce will develop a NanoArray that can detect simulants of biological warfare agents. Future studies will work on a NanoArray panel for sensing several known biological warfare agents.

BioForce's NanoArray devices use atomic-force microscopy to examine molecular forces and individual molecular interactions. BioForce says that the technology needs less time, very small starting samples, no amplification and offers ultra-sensitive multiplex and quantitative capabilities.

BioForce Nanosciences, which is based in Iowa, was founded in 1994 by Eric Henderson, then professor of zoology and genetics at Iowa State University. Henderson has expertise in the biological applications of atomic-force microscopy.