Carnegie Mellon University

Candace Bever, Scientist; Manufacturing and Logistics Manager, InBios

Improving Health Care with Biochemistry

Candace Bever (MCS 2004) is a biological detective — using science to uncover chemical markers that reveal life-saving information. With small plastic cassettes resembling at-home pregnancy or COVID-19 tests and the chemistry within them, she focuses on the rapid detection of infectious agents, toxins and pollutants.

“I develop tools that make the invisible visible and allow us to ‘see’ things that might harm us,” Candace says.

In her day job at InBios, she led a massive scaling of COVID-19 test manufacturing — driving production that helped millions of people access at-home tests to know quickly and safely if they were carrying the COVID-19 virus.

But her impact doesn’t stop there.

She’s also invented a test that detects toxins from mushrooms such as the deadly and invasive death cap (Amanita phalloides), which she released through her startup AMATOXtest, LLC.

With just a few drops of water and a small piece of a suspicious mushroom, Candace’s tests indicate the presence of amanitin toxins. This result can help a doctor or veterinarian quickly confirm exposure and decide on the course of treatment.

“We’re able to save lives, if people have rapid tools to identify a disease, toxin or pollutant,” Candace says. “By putting science in people's hands and making it easy and accessible, we can help make informed decisions.”

Story by Elizabeth Speed