Open Viral Load

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.

Our Solution

The Global TIES Open Viral Load team is working to build an affordable, open source viral load testing system for use in the developing world. Our system will cost less than $1,000, be simple and easy to use, and will match the reliability of commercial tests.

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