Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Middle Bit: ISU chemists developing paper-strip urine test for at-home COVID-19 evaluation

Chemists at Iowa State University are developing a paper-strip urine test to detect COVID-19.

Robbyn Anand, an Iowa State assistant professor of chemistry, is the leader of the project.

The test is designed to detect the presence of a coronavirus protein in a urine sample. To do that, Anand said it will have to be 10 to 1,000 times more sensitive than a pregnancy test.

Anand and the students working in her research group will use electric fields to boost test sensitivity. It’s called electrokinetics and Anand has been working with it since 2004 to concentrate, separate, isolate and manipulate charged particles.

Anand’s COVID-19 project is built on previous work that uses electric fields to help detect an inflammatory protein for an autoimmune disease called Sjögren’s syndrome.

The project is supported by a recently announced one-year, $55,000 grant from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement based in Tucson, Arizona. It is one of seven grants the group awarded to support physical scientists launching COVID-19 projects and working to detect and mitigate epidemics.

DMACC’s datacenter training program adds new certification

DMACC, along with four other Microsoft Datacenter Academies around the country, now have a new requirement to test their tech skills: CompTIA certifications.

The Datacenter Academy trains students for entry-level jobs at data centers. Training covers infrastructure cabling, copper and fiber optic testing, and computer network connectivity. Courses range from eight weeks to 20 months.

The Datacenter Academy program is a part of Microsoft’s Datacenter Community Development initiative, which works to build partnerships that deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits in communities where Microsoft operates datacenters. The initiative brings together nonprofits, governments, educators, and businesses to improve computer science education and support business development.

Earlier this spring the datacenter academy at DMACC opened a virtual learning lab, which features virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies that gives students the opportunity to navigate the Microsoft data centers located throughout Central Iowa via a simulated environment.

Gov. Reynolds proclaims June 22-26 Technology Week

The Technology Association of Iowa announce this week that Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has proclaimed Technology Week in Iowa as June 22 – 26, 2020 in conjunction with TAI’s Prometheus Awards Week.

During Technology Week, Iowa companies, schools, students, scholars, educators, and technology industry professionals will celebrate their accomplishments and achievements.

Middle Bit: ISU chemists developing paper-strip urine test for at-home COVID-19 evaluation | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now