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USF's Daniel Lim Wins National Award for Fighting Bioterror

Daniel Lim

University of South Florida microbiologist Daniel Lim has been awarded the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation's 2004 Homeland Security Award in the biological, radiological and nuclear field. The Homeland Security Award, which honors "cutting edge" innovations contributing to homeland security, will be presented at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Oct. 11. The foundation, established by Congress, encourages and supports research in a wide variety of endeavors to benefit humankind.

"These types of awards are a testament to the quality of research taking place at USF," said President Judy Genshaft. "Dr. Lim is one of our star faculty members, and his research is making a difference in the security of our nation. This recognition is well deserved."

The Foundations' Homeland Security Award is presented in four areas: Biological, Radiological, Nuclear; Border/Transportation Security; Emergency Response; and Information Sharing. Lim's research contributing to the nation's efforts against bioterrorism — and for which he won the award — includes developing and testing new devices to quickly identify bioterror threats such as anthrax and small pox. Lim, who is associated with USF's Center for Biological Defense, has developed fiber optic biosensor assay systems that can detect weaponized biological agents in minutes as opposed to many hours, as well as more quickly detect more common biological threats such as the E. coli bacterium. Many of the tests are made possible through portable devices that can be used in the field.

Lim's lab has developed a process to rapidly identify anthrax and smallpox that upon finding positive results could prevent disease spread. Quickly reported negative results could prevent panic over fears an anthrax or smallpox attack has occurred. Lim and his team recently published studies in the Journal of Microbiological Methods (59;127-130) and in Biosensors & Bioelectronics (20;322-327) outlining their work.

The award includes a check for $5,000 that will be deposited in the USF Foundation to fund on-going research in Lim's lab.

Lim's research has been funded by the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protective Agency.

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