Mary Amasia is making huge strides to improving methods to detect anthrax, which has become a lethal bioterrorism threat. While it now takes at least a day to detect the bacterium in blood or mucus samples, the UC Irvine engineering doctoral student has developing a prototype system to identify anthrax in only one hour. Her computer-automated device may one day allow public health officials to do rapid testing, whether for anthrax or for almost any other microbial or viral infection. “We’re getting good results, and we’ve taken big steps,” says Amasia, who received a $10,000 Public Impact Fellowship from UCI’s Graduate Division to support the project. “We’ve shown that the detection method and hardware are viable.”