Necessity is Still the Mother of Invention
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Carl Wittwer, one of three health sciences faculty recently made a fellow in the National Academy of Inventors, describes his work involving PCR, a way to copy fragments of DNA by the millions to look for disease, biological pathogens, conductgenetic research and more. Using parts of hairdryers and vacuums for prototypes, Wittwer, professor of pathology, revolutionized PCR research by inventing technology that reduced the time for PCR from several hours to just 15 minutes. His invention led to the founding of Idaho Technology, now called BioFire Diagnostics Inc., which employs 500 people and makes PCR technology, diagnostic tests for identifying pathogens, biosurveillance systems and other technologies.