Touradj Solouki, Ph.D.Inspired by the apparent ability of dogs to detect cancer in humans, Baylor University chemist Dr. Touradj Solouki is attempting to identify biomarkers in human breath and saliva for early and noninvasive detection of cancer. He uses an ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometer to collect data and compares the molecular components found in a healthy person's breath with those found in the breath of a cancer patient.
Solouki and his team separate the molecules that make up the components of human exhaled breath, by forcing them to sort into similar groups as they travel through hundreds of feet of fine tubing. A coating on the inside of the tube affects the movements of each type of molecule in a different way, causing them to segregate. It discards carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen and saves just the organics. The molecules are then cooled by liquid nitrogen, ionized and fed into a magnetic field. The ionized molecules are trapped and their motion is further restricted using a combination of a magnetic field and electrical field. These trapped ionized molecules are identified according to the specific natural cyclotron frequencies at which they spin.
Solouki's research is supported by funding from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
He has been interviewed about his research on ABC 20/20, CBS News, and the National Geographic Channel.
Solouki, who received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Texas A & M University in 1994, joined Baylor in 2011 as professor of chemistry and biochemistry
To interview Dr. Solouki, contact Frank Raczkiewicz, (254) 710-1964, or the Office of Media Communications at (254) 710-1961.