Through the Urgent COVID-19 Clinical Research and Laboratory Research Fund, Benjamin Larimer, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Radiology, received funding for his project, “Development of a Rapid and Scalable COVID-19 Antibody Epitope Mapping Platform by Phage Display.” His COVID-19 research looked to expand potential impact by utilizing an existing technology.

On the study, he says his group used a tool previously employed for cancer studies. “It has significantly expanded the impact we can have by looking at biomarkers in a variety of new ways.”

The project resulted in new findings on how the immune system makes antibodies in patients, which led to a new antibody test that could provide an inexpensive, but quick way to track immunity. Larimer says his team is fortunate to have been accurate in projecting outcomes for the study.

“Our work resulted in a new patent being filed, and a UAB startup: P3 Diagnostics,” Larimer explains. “While the startup is still in its early stages, we hope that it will allow for translation of discoveries at UAB to make it into clinical applications.”

Larimer and his team have presented the study’s results to local, regional, national and international news outlets and industry meetings, which has greatly increased exposure for the excellence in research at UAB.