Overview and Mission
We are a multi-disciplinary lab, combining microfluidic, molecular biology and material science expertise. Our mission is to develop clinically and industrially-relevant novel micro and meso-scale fluidic technologies for a radical and sustainable new approach to medical sample preparation, instantly preserving biomarker integrity and reducing the time to result for critical tests. We have been working for many years with circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA), in applications such as non-invasive prenatal testing, cancer diagnostics, organ transplant monitoring, organ injury and infectious disease diagnostics.
Spin-offs in progress
Multidisciplinary collaboration is increasingly recognised as a vital component of the conduct of research and providing healthcare. We are a unique blend of engineers, biologists, and clinicians working together to develop innovative solutions using microtechnologies for emerging healthcare applications.
Local and International Collaborators
We are also actively collaborating with several academic institutions, hospitals and industrial partners across the UK and Europe.
- Dr Nick Leslie, Heriot-Watt University
- Dr Nicola Howarth, Heriot-Watt University
- Dr James Dear, University of Edinburgh
- Dr Till Bachmann, University of Edinburgh
- Dr Charlie Massy, University of Cambridge
- Prof Nick Turner & Dr Isaac Garcia-Murillas, Institute of Cancer Research UK
- Dr Virginia Pensabene, University of Leeds
- The Electrospinning Company
- Lumira Dx
- Dr Vincenzo La Carrubba, University of Palermo, Italy
- Dr Eugenio Martinelli, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy
- Prof Jurgen Del Favero, Belgium
- Microfluidic Chip Shop, Germany
- Micronit, Nederlands
- Dr Jamie Rylance and Dr Shevin Jacobs, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, African Research Collaboration on Sepsis
- Dr Kazuhiro Horiba and Dr Yoshinori Ito, Nagoya University
- Prof Stella Smith, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research
Current Research Topics
Miniaturised human blood preparation for next-generation sensing
We are developing novel devices for the preparation of blood samples, with an emphasis on pre-analytical workflows for the analysis of circulating DNA. We have developed various small-scale blood plasma separation techniques for separating few microlitres, to full 9mL clinical sample tubes. We have developed and patented techniques for robust efficient separation of cfDNA from plasma, and enrichment of ctDNA from cfDNA elution.
Fast prototyping of microfluidic devices
We are developing rapid, robust, cost-effective techniques for the production of microfluidic prototypes that can quickly translate into commercial products. We are keen to share our solutions and we have published several videos to help other groups get to grip with small-scale microfluidic production.
We are committed to improving sustainability in our field. We have come up with different solutions to reduce our environmental impact. Amongst other things, we have trialled recycled PMMA with our microfluidic prototyping solutions and we have developed a method to laser-cut Polylactic acid (PLA ), a biopolymer, as a substrate material in microfluidic lamination protoyping.