Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Development of F�rster Resonance Energy Transfer Methods for Detection of Botulinum Neurotoxin with Application to the Ecology of Type E Botulism in Lake Michigan


September 2009 - July 2011


1. Complete development and validation of FRET technology for the in vitro detection of BoNTs in biological and environmental samples. This will be accomplished by developing pull-down methods for the detection BoNT/E proteolytic activity. FRET methodology will be further developed and validated on archived animal and environmental samples that have been previously characterized for BoNT/E.

2. Following successful test development the FRET assay will be used to identify the degree to which cladophora blooms and the presence of exotic species, such as dreissenid mussels and round gobies, are associated with the occurrence of BoNT/E in the aquatic food web, initially focusing efforts near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Research Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Piazza, T. M., D. S. Blehert, F. M. Dunning, B. M. Berlowski-Zier, F. N. Zeytin. M. D. SAMUEL, and W. C. Tucker. 2011. In vitro detection and quantification of botulinum neurotoxin type E activity in avian blood. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 77:7815-7822.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 238

Phd Students: 144

Post Docs: 54

University Staff: 239

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 673

Scientific Publications: 1905

Presentations: 4235



  • Michael SamuelPrincipal Investigator
  • Tim PiazzaStudent

Funding Agencies

  • Cooperative Research Unit Program
  • National Park Service


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey