Open Viral Load

Winter 2017 Poster

Check out OVL's Winter 2017 poster here.

Prospective Students

There are three main aspects to the project, clinical (focused on testing and work in the wet lab), hardware, and software. With such a diverse range of work available, the OVL team has a place for all majors, interests, and specialties. Since this project is fairly far along we encourage members who are looking for a longer term involvement (1 year +) to apply.

Mission Statement

In the United States, HIV patients receive regular follow-up testing three to four times annually to ensure that their treatment remains effective. This is critical to prevent resistance from developing and spreading in the population. Unfortunately, the machines needed to perform these tests routinely run in excess of $10,000, a cost which is prohibitive in many regions.


The Open Viral Load project is developing affordable HIV diagnostics for use in low-resource settings. Since Fall 2014, the team has raised over $30,000 in funding and is currently preparing to begin clinical validation of its prototypes. 

Quarter Goals

We have recently developed and begun testing our first generation prototype, and will be cooperating with Dr. Jose Roman Chavez Mendez, a professor at the UABC in Tijuana, Mexico. We plan to have a working prototype delivered to Professor Chavez at the beginning of Spring Quarter 2016, and to diagnose our first patient by the end of that quarter. 

In the longer term, we plan to work with our partners at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, Mozambique to continue developing and distributing our system.


Devices Team

The Devices Subteam works on the hardware/software side of the project, constructing and writing code for the PCR thermocycler and the imaging device. 


Biochemistry Team

The Biochemistry Subteam works on the wetware, including RNA extraction, construction of the PCR microwell chips, and lyophilization of reagents.


Team Members

  • Hayley Chong - All-Team Lead
  • Rachel Owyeung - Biochemistry Lead
  • Alex Smith - Software Lead
  • Christopher Liu - Hardware Lead
  • Cheryl Chan
  • Allison Duchnak
  • Wendy Yu
  • Kushagra Mathur
  • Julia Brown
  • Martin Hartel
  • Neelam Patel
  • Uma Mahto
  • Nassim Eshragh Nia
  • Alborz Jelvani
  • Nathan Quach
  • Brian Nguyen
  • Woo-Jong Jang
  • Armon Safai
  • Timothy Han
  • Hormoz Khodada
  • Khalid Ali
  • Christian Gunther

Faculty Advisor

  • Dr. Matthew Strain

Undergraduate Advisor

  • Kirk Hutchison