The University of Plymouth’s Nanomaterials and Devices research group, led by Professor Genhua Pan, has strong interests in the development and application of nanotechnology based biosensors as diagnostics in medicine and healthcare.
Current major research projects focusing on the development of nanomaterial based molecular diagnostic technology for dementia and cancer are funded by EPSRC and the EU Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Innovative Training Network programme.
- AiPBAND – An Integrated Platform for Developing Brain Cancer Diagnostic Techniques
€3.7 million Horizon 2020 Marie Curie ITN funded, pan-European initiative to develop new approaches for and train the next-generation of researchers in the early diagnosis of brain tumours.
- BBDiag – Blood Biomarker-based Diagnostic tools for early-stage Alzheimer’s disease
Pan-European €3.5 million Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Innovative Training Network, to identify blood-based biomarkers for early-Alzheimer’s disease and develop associated diagnostic techniques.
- Novel Point-of-Care Diagnostic Techniques for Dementia
£1 mission research project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop an innovative, real-time diagnostic technique for dementia using graphene.
These are truly interdisciplinary research with extensive collaborations in the UK, EU and internationally, and involve three Faculties at the University of Plymouth (science and engineering, medicine and dentistry and business).
The group’s research and innovation activities are underpinned by the University’s Wolfson Nanomaterials Laboratory, a cleanroom-based nanotechnology laboratory equipped with multimillion pound research facilities in thin film deposition, micro-scale device fabrication, and electrical, magnetic and nanoscale device characterisation.
An integrated platform for developing brain cancer diagnostic techniques
AiPBAND is a four-year, €3.7 million, pan-European, Horizon 2020, Marie Curie Innovative Training Network led by researchers at the University of Plymouth, designed to train the next generation of researchers in the early diagnosis of brain tumours.
The network comprises nine academic and three non-academic organisations, belonging to five EU member states and six partner organisations, with fields ranging from neuroscience, engineering and big data science to healthcare, clinical trials and economics. The initiative has four key objectives:
- identify new blood biomarkers for patients with brain tumours
- design three types of multiplex biosensor - plasmonic-based, graphene-based, and digital ELISA assay-based
- development of a big data-empowered intelligent data management infrastructure
- development of cloud-based diagnostic systems.
Blood Biomarker-based Diagnostic tools for early-stage Alzheimer’s disease
BBDiag is a pan-European project led by the University of Plymouth, funded by Horizon 2020 Marie Curie programme that could revolutionise the effectiveness of Alzheimer’s diagnosis and clinical drug trials.
The initiative will address the lack of specific, sensitive and minimally-invasive biomarkers and techniques to identify people with the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
BBDiag brings together leading academic and industrial experts from five major consortia across Europe. Together they are developing a multidisciplinary research and training programme to discover Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers, develop new biosensing techniques and ‘point of care’ tools, and maximise the technical exploitation of diagnostics.
Novel Point-of-Care Diagnostic Techniques for Dementia
£1 million research project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop an innovative, real-time diagnostic technique for dementia using graphene-based biosensors.
The team are developing a new way to detect multiple biomarkers found in bodily fluids which indicate dementia in the early stages of the disease, providing clinicians with real-time data and a conclusive test within minutes of the sample being taken.
Availability of a low-cost point-of-care technology such as this would revolutionise the diagnosis of dementia leading to:
- More people being diagnosed earlier and more accurately than before, resulting in appropriate and effective plans for treatment and care
- Accurate tracking of disease progression providing a positive impact on clinical trials for new drugs
Li B, Pan G, Avent ND, Lowry RB, Madgett TE and Waines PL, ‘Graphene electrode modified with electrochemically reduced graphene oxide for label-free DNA detection’, Journal of Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2015, 72, 313–319. DOI, PEARL