Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Breath as a Window into Health

By Thayer School Communications
February 2018 • CoolStuff

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Dartmouth engineering professor Jane Hill and her team have been awarded two additional grants to further their investigation of breath as a tool to more easily and accurately track and measure infectious disease such as tuberculosis (TB) and complications from cystic fibrosis (CF).

"If you have a suspected lung infection," says Professor Hill, "it can take you days, or, in the case of something like Tuberculosis, weeks to figure out what's causing your lung infection and that's obviously unacceptable. And what we do is take the concept of using exhaled breath as a window into the health of the body in order to figure out what a diagnosis is for an infection."

The first new grant is a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation award renewal and part of The Grand Challenges family of initiatives which foster "innovation to solve key health and development problems."

"It turns out that 1.6 million people die of TB every year," continues Hill. "It's the biggest infectious disease killer, and 9 million people get TB every single year. So Tuberculosis—which we don't think of in the West as being a big deal—is actually a big deal for low- and middle-income countries."

The second is Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Grant to help address the lung infections that plague people with CF which number 30,000 in the USA and 70,000 worldwide.

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Tags: award, engineering in medicine, faculty, humanitarian service, research

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