Topic: Healthcare applications

An inexpensive and fast pathogenic bacteria screening device

📥  Healthcare applications

While pathogenic bacteria contribute to a large number of globally important diseases and infections, current clinical diagnosis is based on processes that often involve culturing which can be time-consuming. Therefore, innovative, simple, rapid and low-cost solutions to effectively reduce the burden of bacterial infections are urgently needed.

A research team led by the University of Bath and including scientists from the University of Manchester has developed a sensor that enables the initial screening of pathogens in a fast and inexpensive way. The sensor uses field-effect transistors that can distinguish between pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria.

The work was led by Dr Pedro Estrela from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and focused on the detection of uropathogenic Escherichia coli strains responsible for the great majority of urinary tract infections.

Dr Pedro Estrela from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering who led the work said: "This fast, effective and inexpensive sensor can be used to support current clinical microbiology by providing high-throughput screening of pathogenic bacterial samples. Our technology can be easily implemented as an initial bacterial screening before further advanced investigations so that additional time and costs can be saved.

The large volume production of such chips will bring the assay price down, making it an attractive proposition for pathogen screening in point of care applications such as in hospitals."

The work has been published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics.



feature on collaboration with Sao Paulo

📥  Healthcare applications

As part of a special "worldwide collection of articles" devoted to links with Brazil, the University of Bath highlighted the collaboration between Dr Pedro Estrela and the University of Sao Paulo:

The article describes the collaboration between Dr Estrela and Prof Mulato on the development of novel biosensors for detecting early-stage prostate and breast cancer.


sandpit event of the GW4 Biosensor Network

📥  Healthcare applications

A sandpit event of the GW4 Biosensor Network took place in Cardiff on the 19th May with researchers from all 4 Universities. The sandpit was focused on healthcare applications and brought together researchers from very different scientific backgrounds.

Several ideas for new collaborative projects resulted from the sandpit.


1st GW4 Biosensor Network Workshop

📥  Environmental applications, Healthcare applications, Security applications

The 1st GW4 Biosensor Network Workshop took place at the University of Bath on the 24th March. Around 40 researchers from the 4 GW4 Universities took part with a range of interesting talks and posters. There were several networking sessions which enabled the participants to know each other, discuss ideas and possible future collaborations.

Overall a very enjoyable and productive day!



GW4 Biosensor Network

📥  Environmental applications, Healthcare applications, Security applications

We are pleased to announce that we have received a GW4 Initiator Fund award to create a GW4 Biosensor Network.

The GW4 Biosensor Network will bring together researchers from different disciplines with an interest on biosensors. Biosensors measure chemical or biological molecules in complex samples (e.g. blood, water, air) for a wide range of applications including medical diagnosis, monitoring of therapies, personalised medicine, drug discovery and water quality control.

Inherently, biosensor research is highly interdisciplinary with integration of knowledge between engineers, physical scientists, life scientists, clinicians and other end users to accelerate innovations that are informed and fit for purpose.

We aim to push forward biosensor research with biomedical, pharmaceutical, environmental monitoring and defence applications. Through collaboration, cooperation and integration there is an opportunity to make improvements in our level of commercial and clinical interaction, the quality of published outputs, and funding success rates.

The GW4 Biosensor Network expands our Bath Biosensor Network to the Universities of Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. We hope that this will enable establishing stronger links with our GW4 partners. A new website for the GW4 Biosensor Network will be created soon.


For details on the GW4 Biosensor Network, please contact:

University of Bath: Dr Pedro Estrela (
University of Bristol: Prof Mervyn Miles (
Cardiff University: Dr Niklaas Buurma (
University of Exeter: Prof Peter Winlove (


Biosensor research projects receive Marie Curie funding

📥  Environmental applications, Healthcare applications

During the latest round of funding made available through the Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITNs), three bids led by Bath researchers were successful, two of which are biosensor projects.

Marie Curie ITNs are highly prestigious funding awards, focused on the training of a large number of PhD students and Postdoc students across several European institutions, working towards a common high impact scientific goal.

Each of the three awards is worth around €4 million, with around €1 million allocated to Bath as overall coordinator.

The three successful bids are:

PROSENSE: This project is being led by Dr Pedro Estrela from the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, and aims to increase current understanding of the clinical relevance of prostate cancer biomarkers. Prostate cancer kills 10,000 men each year in the UK, and through this project the research team hopes to improve the sensitivity, selectivity, robustness and speed of biosensing technologies for the testing for this disease.

SEWPROF: Led by Dr Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern, from the Department of Chemistry, this project explores ‘sewage epidemiology’ - the testing of sewage to improve public health monitoring at a community level. The research will be applying innovative sewage epidemiology techniques to deliver the real-time profiling of community-wide health and lifestyle through the analysis of human biomarkers in sewage. This conceptually simple but highly sophisticated research could become an early warning system for outbreaks of disease and a unique tool for the identification of hot-spots for pandemics.

DESTINY: This project, led by Professor Alison Walker from the Department of Physics, will tackle major challenges in the development of stable dye-sensitized solar cells. These cells offer exciting possibilities for applications in building solar power into consumer electronics, but they possess complex structures which cause the cells to degrade. This project will explore why this degradation takes place, and explore methods for enhancing cell life without sacrificing performance and scalability.

All three projects will benefit from new PhD and Postdoc roles, with the ITNs offering these early stage researchers the opportunity to improve their skills, join established research teams and enhance their career prospects through high-impact socially significant research.

Professor Jane Millar, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, said: “This is a significant achievement for the University of Bath. Marie Curie ITN funding is highly prestigious, with ITN proposals selected through an open competition based on excellence as determined through peer review. The award of funding for three ITNs at Bath is therefore a vote of confidence from the academic community towards the research we are undertaking.”

For more information about all of the University of Bath Marie Curie ITN projects please see the Europa website.


New professor of healthcare engineering joins Biosensor Network

📥  Healthcare applications

The University has appointed Professor Richie Gill to pull together multi-disciplinary expertise in healthcare engineering from across the institution.

Previously from the University of Oxford, Professor Gill brings a wealth of experience in both academic and industrial healthcare engineering to the role, which will be based in the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Professor Gill leaves a role as Group Head of the Oxford Orthopaedic Engineering Centre which he has held for the past 12 years, and as University Lecturer in the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences.

At Bath, Professor Gill will continue his research interests in Orthopaedics, maintaining his collaborations with Oxford, as well as developing new projects in the wider field of healthcare.

His research covers the development of novel assessment methodologies and computational models to understand musculoskeletal function together with clinical studies with the overall aim of improving patient outcome.

He will also be responsible for assessing the broad range of healthcare engineering research currently taking place, with the aim of establishing opportunities for collaboration between different groups, and exploiting the knowledge and expertise within the University.

Professor Gill said: “My research and experience has combined laboratory-based research with clinical research and mathematical modelling, applying engineering methods to orthopaedic problems.

“I am bringing to Bath experience of the clinical environment in which these solutions are required to work, and a wealth of involvement in multi-disciplinary research. I feel this is going to help me in my wider remit here of developing links with researchers across the University interested in the healthcare applications of their work.”