CDC Innovation Fund Project Spotlight
Esswein’s team designed bag assemblies to reduce worker exposure to silica dust at hydraulic fracturing locations. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) mini-baghouse assembly mounts to the top of sand movers used in the hydraulic fracturing process. The assembly was field tested in 2016 with industry partners at two locations. Esswein obtained a patent on the technology in February 2017. Industry partners have expressed interest in supporting further field testing.
Eric Esswein of NIOSH designed mini baghouse technology to reduce worker exposure to silica dust. CDC NIOSH photo, Randy Nitz.
Communities and local officials often request the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to investigate hazardous air pollution that they believe is harming their health. Using new sensor technology, Greg Zarus’s ATSDR team is building and testing inexpensive battery-powered air sampling devices that can detect multiple chemicals under a variety of atmospheric conditions, turn on a separate more accurate sampling device, collect samples, and turn off, for multiple air pollution events.
Zarus’s team is partnering with NIOSH to field test two separate networks of robotic samplers with NIOSH in summer 2017. His project is also partnered with Georgia Institute of Technology faculty and students through their Capstoneexternal icon program. One of his team’s interns developed a lesson plan to use the sensors to teach STEM in high schools, and plans to find school hosting sites to adopt the sensor programming—making schools a possible future crowdsource for pollution data.
Greg Zarus builds and tests inexpensive battery-powered air sampling devices for pollution events. CDC photo, Greg Zarus.
Matt Maenner’s team, composed of scientists from the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) and the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services (CSELS), seeks to reduce the labor needed to estimate the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children. CDC produces the most widely used estimate of ASD prevalence in the United States, but the system is very labor intensive. It involves having clinicians manually review developmental evaluations to look for symptoms of ASD. Maenner’s team wants to use machine learning to automate parts of this process, improving the efficiency and timeliness of the system. Their algorithm uses the software Random Forest and aims to predict whether a child meets ASD criteria using the words in a child’s evaluations. This project is co-funded through the HHS Ventures Fundexternal icon program.
A CDC-developed algorithm aims to predict whether a child meets Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) criteria using the words in a child’s evaluations. CDC photo, Matt Maenner.
Mike Green in CDC’s Center for Global Health (CGH) has designed a simple and cheap device to detect falsified/degraded/expired drugs. His team has successfully tested a prototype in Ghana and is using iFund dollars to engineer an improved prototype. The project’s focus has been on testing antimalarial tablets. A provisional patent application was filed. The CoDI is participating in an upcoming Drug Quality Field Methods evaluation project in spring 2017. The study will compare different field methods to identify poor quality medicine. He is also working with the Georgia Institute of Technology to test drug samples.
CDC’s Mike Green has designed a counterfeit drug identifier to detect falsified, degraded, and expired drugs. The project has focused on testing antimalarial tablets. CDC photo, Mike Green.
Working in collaboration with NCEZID and CDC Kenya, Mintz’s project is testing the sustainability and scalability of solar waste treatment among households and municipalities without sewage access in Kenya. Solid waste is collected from households, treated, converted to charcoal briquettes, and sold. The FY2013 iFund demonstration pilot focused on pathogen inactivation with solar sanitation in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp as well as the development of robust health and safety protocols for processing non-sewered waste. The current projectexternal icon is focused on scalability to support the Ministry of Health’s goals and ensure more waste is safely managed. The project has received additional funding from USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and others.
Solid waste is collected from households, treated, converted to charcoal briquettes, and sold. Photo credit, Sanivation CEO, Andrew Foote.