September 3, 2016
Today's podcast guest is a guy who could save and be saving more lives than any guest I've ever had on the podcast.
While working for the army as a microbiologist, he developed two extremely unique methods of microbe detection. The first is a universal and physical virus counter (IVDS). The second is a computer program that, in conjunction with Mass Spectrometry, identifies the unique protein fragments (peptides) within a sample of anything and universally detects all the microbes in a sample (MSP) – from Ebola to influenza to Zika, West Nile Virus, AIDS and beyond, including known, unknown, and mutated viruses.
He was the feature of the NY Times Article: Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery, which was about work he did in the bee population in 2010 to shed light on colony collapse disorder.
But the promise of what he does goes beyond bees, and when it comes to health and fitness, in the right hands his Mass Spect Proteomics program could help scientists and physicians study the gut, infection and other elements of health. The need for a lot of lab work would be eliminated and human body clinicians would no longer be limited to parameters of particular panels, because they would now have access to one very inexpensive test that sees everything – EVERYTHING – and beats the pants off old-school methods of disease detection. The Integrated Virus Detection System (IVDS) he helped to develop is a fast-acting, highly portable, user-friendly, extremely accurate and efficient system for detecting the presence of, screening, identifying, and characterizing viruses.
Let's say, for example, you get bit by a mosquito (this analogy is inspired by the newspaper clip below that I was just reading this morning).
Over several days, you feel increasingly worse and worse.
What if, using your own saliva or other body fluid, you could immediately test in the comfort of your own home to see if you had Zika, West Nile, or some other microbe-related issue?
My guest is Dr. Charles Wick, and he is based out of a small tech firm in Montana that is working to make IVDS laptop sized units to be used use in mobile applications like airports, drugstores, homes, etc. to help quickly and accurately diagnose the flu and other bugs, along with developing technologies to help bee keepers manage their hives to save insects like bees and beetles.
Dr. Wick is a retired senior scientist from the US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) where he served both as a manager and research physical scientist and has made significant contributions to forensic science. Although his 40+ year professional career has spanned both the public sector and the military, his better-known work in the area of forensic science has occurred in concert with the Department of Defense (DOD). After earning four degrees from the University of Washington, Dr. Wick worked in the private sector for twelve years, leading to a patent, numerous publications, and international recognition among his colleagues.
In 1983, Dr. Wick joined the Vulnerability/Lethality Division of the United States Army Ballistic Research Laboratory, where he quickly achieved recognition as a manager and principal investigator. It was at this point that he made one of his first major contributions to forensic science and to the field of antiterrorism; his team was the first to utilize current technology to model sub-lethal chemical, biological, and nuclear agents. This achievement was beneficial to all areas of the Department of Defense, as well as to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and gained Wick international acclaim as an authority on individual performance for operations conducted on a nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) battlefield.
During his career in the United States Army, Wick rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Chemical Corps. He served as a Unit Commander for several rotations, a staff officer for six years (he was an Division Chemical Staff Officer for two rotations), Deputy Program Director Biological Defense Systems, and retired from the position of Commander of the 485th Chemical Battalion in April of 1999. Dr. Wick continued to work for the DOD as a civilian at ECBC. Two notable achievements, and one which earned him the Department of the Army Research and Development Award for Technical Excellence and a Federal Laboratory Consortium Technology Transfer Award in 2002, include his involvement in the invention of the Integrated Virus Detection System (IVDS), a fast-acting, highly portable, user-friendly, extremely accurate and efficient system for detecting the presence of, screening, identifying, and characterizing viruses. The IVDS can detect and identify the full spectrum of known, unknown, and mutated viruses, from AIDS to foot and mouth disease, to West Nile Virus, and beyond.
This system is compact, portable, and does not rely upon elaborate chemistry. The second, and equally award winning, was his leadership in the invention of the method for detecting and identifying microbes using Mass Spectrometry Proteomics. Each of these projects represent determined ten year efforts and are novel in their approaches to the detection and classification of microbes from complex matrices. Both topics are the subjects of two books published by CRC Press. Throughout his career, Wick has made lasting and important contributions to forensic science and to the field of antiterrorism. Dr. Wick holds several U.S. Patents in the area of microbe detection and classification. He has written more than forty-five civilian and military publications and has received myriad awards and citations, including the Department of the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, the Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award, two United States Army Achievement Medals for Civilian Service, the Commander's Award for Civilian Service, the Technical Cooperation Achievement Award and twenty-five other decorations and awards for military and community service.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-What bees disappearing has to do with the Zika virus…[15:38]
-Why colony collapse disorder in bees is happening (and whether cell phones are to blame)…[24:12 & 28:20]
-Why it's actually a pretty big deal for your health if bees die off…[31:00, 32:40 & 38:00]
-What can be done now to keep bees from disappearing…[34:00 & 51:15]
-How the biological testing equipment Charles developed is extremely unique, and why older detection methods are flawed…[18:30, 37:50 & 46:25]
-Ways this technology can be used to quickly find out if you have things like MRSA, Lyme, influenza or some kind of underlying chronic infection…[37:10 & 44:40]
-How the smartphone of the future could be used to detect virtually any microbial condition…[53:35]
-And much more…
Resources from this episode:
Video 1 from YouTube: Charles discusses Mass Spectrometry Proteomics (MSP) and Integrated Virus Detection System (IVDS). Both, universal microbe detectors that, including Ebola, could universally detect every microbe in a single sample.
Video 2 from YouTube: In this second half, Charles answers questions about his IP, terrorist using Ebola, how MSP and IVDS have all but made PCR detection methods obsolete, and of course the meaning of life.
Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Dr. Charles Wick or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!