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Molecular Imaging of Bacterial Infections Awarded Grand Prize at 2021 IDea Incubator Competition to Support Innovation for Improving Infectious Diseases Care

Three finalists presented their potential innovations during IDWeek 2021

Arlington, VA – Sept. 29, 2021 – The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) Foundation, in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS (‘JLABS’), recently awarded more than $17,000 in funding through the 2021 IDea Incubator competition to three finalists for their promising innovations aimed at advancing the field of infectious diseases.

Sanjay Jain, MD, Filipa Mota, PhD, and Alvaro Ordonez, MD, of Johns Hopkins University took home the top grant of $10,000 for their innovation, Molecular Imaging of Bacterial Infections. The team developed F-FDS, a patent-pending, bacteria-specific PET imaging technology that differentiates Gram-negative bacterial infections from other diseases, such as cancer metastases and tumors. Unlike more traditional approaches for diagnosing infections, F-FDS does not require surgery or biopsy, it has nearly 100% specificity, and it can detect infections anywhere in the body with rapid results available within the same day.

With infections, we know that the time to diagnosis influences treatment decisions and downstream outcomes. Conventional imaging methods cannot reliably differentiate infections from other processes,” said Dr. Ordonez. “Bacteria-specific PET imaging can improve how we diagnose and monitor infections.

The pitch-style competition was hosted Sept. 28 as a part of the second fully virtual IDWeek conference. Three finalists – selected out of more than 50 applicants from across the U.S. – presented their original ideas, products and concepts to a judging panel of experts in business, technology and health care, as well as a live virtual audience.

Kyriaki Hatziagapiou, MD, PhD, Spyridon Kintzios, PhD, and Sofia Mavrikou, PhD,

were awarded $5,000 for their innovation Cell-Based Bio-Electric Biosensor for the Detection of the SARS-CoV-2 S1 Spike Protein Antigen. The team developed a low-cost, easy-to-use test that uses bioelectric recognition assay technology to provide a fast and accurate diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens with results provided within three minutes.

Additionally, David Kaufman, MD, and Josh Odrich, both from the University of Virginia, received $2,500 to further develop their innovation, the Neonatal Antibiotic Stewardship App (NASA). The free web-based app offers 24/7 evidence-based guidance for neonatal providers to stop or narrow the spectrum of antibiotics that are prescribed in neonatal intensive care units with the hopes of reducing infants’ risks for lifelong adverse effects.

The IDea Incubator competition sparks innovation and provides funding for exciting new ideas in the field of infectious diseases,” said Stephen E. Peeler, CFRE, executive director of the IDSA Foundation. “Through our continued collaboration with JLABS, we’re able to bring more visibility to this competition among some of the brightest minds across industries, as well as expand the valuable content offered during the live event.

This year, by engaging with BLUE KNIGHT™ – JLABS’ joint initiative with BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority) – attendees had the opportunity to learn about eligibility requirements, selection processes and potential benefits of joining the Blue Knight initiative or other BARDA innovation initiatives during an intermission session.

At the IDea Incubator, we come together to encourage and celebrate big thinkers who are getting creative in their approach to improving global health through science and technology,” said Rachel Rath, MBA, MPH, director of the BARDA Alliance for Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC. “Through our collaboration with the IDSA Foundation, we can potentially further ignite the work of promising innovators by introducing them to a global network of like-minded experts and entrepreneurs.

Javeed Siddiqui, MD, MPH, head of the IDSA Telehealth and Emerging Technologies Workgroup and co-founder and chief medical officer of TeleMed2U, launched the first IDea Incubator at IDWeek in 2018. Since then, the competition has awarded nearly $70,000 in funding. Siddiqui served as the host of this year’s competition.

This year’s judges were Courtney Law, PhD, managing partner at Biolocity; Kris Khalil, executive director of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center; Erik Douglas, PhD, director of External Innovation for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.; Holly Frost, MD, pediatrician and assistant professor at Denver Health and the University of Colorado School of Medicine and 2020 IDea Incubator first-place finalist; and Pejman Naraghi-Arani, PhD, technical advisor at BARDA.

For more information about IDea Incubator, including information about past awardees, visit A full recording of this year’s competition can be viewed here.

About IDSA Foundation
The IDSA Foundation is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization committed to reducing the burdens of infectious diseases worldwide. Founded in 2001, the IDSA Foundation is the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s charitable arm, committed to providing career development opportunities, supporting education and funding groundbreaking research. Through its work, the Foundation invests in the next generation of diverse ID leaders, supports innovative research and promotes advancements in patient care. Learn more at

About IDWeek
IDWeek is the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS). With the theme “Advancing Science, Improving Care,” IDWeek features the latest science and bench-to-bedside approaches in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and epidemiology of infectious diseases, including HIV, across the lifespan. IDWeek 2021 takes place virtually from Sept. 29-Oct. 3. For more information, visit

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