Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Chemistry for Biomedical Applications

The application of physical and organic chemistry concepts to biomedical applications

Contact Us  

  • Group Leader
  • Kirk Rector
  • Deputy Group Leader
  • Harshini Mukundan
  • Team Leader
  • Harshini Mukundan
  • Group Office
  • (505) 667-7121

This team focuses on the application of physical and organic chemistry concepts to biomedical applications

The work spans basic research on the nature of protein function and the production of high value chemicals from algae, to applied research supported by a variety of sponsors on the sensitive and specific detection of biomarkers of disease in humans and animals, and the development of integrated global biosurveillance systems.

Biomarker-based assay offers ranchers immediate, on-site test results
A research breakthrough allowing the first direct, empirical, blood-based, cow-side test for diagnosing bovine tuberculosis (TB) could spare ranchers and the agriculture industry from costly quarantines and the mass slaughter of animals infected with this easily spread disease.

C-PCS researchers adapted an assay originally developed for human TB to bovine TB, a particular challenge because the bovine disease is caused by a different species of the pathogen. The team validated the assay in cows that were positive controls of a vaccination study done at the US Department of Agriculture, tested at different time points during the course of infection.

This work was recently published in the journal Analytical Science, and supports the global One Health strategy – which is to develop universal diagnostics that are not host specific.

Mycobacterium bovis causes bovine tuberculosis.

Mycobacterium bovis causes bovine tuberculosis, which easily spreads among large cattle herds, which can result in the quarantine and destruction of entire herds in the United States, Canada and abroad.

Harshini Mukundan of the Chemistry for Biomedical Applications team is one of six women statewide to receive a 2016 Women in Technology Award from the New Mexico Technology Council. This annual award recognizes women leading the way in New Mexico industries as technology innovators, educators and entrepreneurs.

Harshini Mukundan - Chemistry for Biomedical Applications

In 2017, Joanna Casson was awarded her third consecutive Energy Facilities Contractors Group (EFCOG). Teamwork for her contributions to complex-wide laser safety programs. The EFCOG has representatives from all DOE national laboratories, many LANS parent companies as well as HQ personnel. On top of her DOE- and national-level efforts, Joanna serves as both the LANL and Chemistry Division Laser Safety Officer, as well as the Chair of the Laser Safety Committee. In these roles, she helps shape LANL laser safety policy, and its implementation at essentially all levels.

Joanna Casson was awarded her third consecutive Energy Facilities Contractors Group (EFCOG).

Rapid, fieldable detection of live pathogensRapid, fieldable detection of live pathogens.
Identification of viable bacteria in a complex environment is scientifically challenging. Current detection and diagnostic techniques are inadequate in major public health emergencies, such as outbreaks of food-borne illness.

C-PCS researchers have developed a better technique for quick, fieldable detection of live pathogens using selective surface-functionalized chemistry. The method eliminates the need for laboratory culture and greatly speeds the process.

C-PCS Researchers to Assist NM Algae LLCC-PCS Researchers to Assist NM Algae LLC.
Chemistry for Biomedical Applications team members are providing technical expertise to local industry for the development of a large-scale, multi-stage, continuous process for the growth of an algae that produces the nutritional supplement astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a high-value carotenoid pigment that is produced by the algae Haematococcus pluvialis, as a stress response to harsh environmental conditions