Project to create antiviral fabrics awarded funding for New Industrial Collaborations

Written by
Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research
April 28, 2023

A new project has been awarded the Dean for Research Innovation Fund for New Industrial Collaborations. This fund supports research collaborations between industry and academia with the goal of fostering basic research that has the potential for leading to products, technologies, or services for societal benefit. The award provides University funding for one year followed by a second year of funding that is contingent on matching funds from an industrial collaborator.

AJ te Velthius

AJ te Velthuis, Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology. Photo by Sameer A. Khan/Fotobuddy

A.J. te Velthuis, assistant professor of molecular biology, will collaborate with scientists at Ascend Performance Materials to develop smart surfaces that can detect, trap and inactivate viruses. The work follows the team’s earlier demonstration that nylon face masks embedded with zinc ions exhibit antiviral properties against influenza and coronaviruses. The researchers will extend their work to explore how zinc inactivates enveloped and non-enveloped viruses. They will also investigate how viruses behave in fabrics with the goal of creating a mask that can direct the flow of viral particles to a wearable detector. The goal is to seek regulatory approval for the placement of antiviral fabrics in masks and stationary air filters as part of a viral surveillance and elimination plan.