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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

 

Analytical Biotechnology is a key research sector for the future innovation in bioelectronic component materials; smart analytical and functional reagents; bio-imaging technologies; post genomics and interactomics; miniaturisation of analytical methods; environmental monitoring; diagnostics and personalised medicine and bio and chemical security.

 

Cambridge Analytical Biotechnology (CAB) has a special  interest in in vitro diagnostics: understanding of how biology can be interfaced with electronic, mechanical and optical systems and the development of new instrumentation and techniques to answer fundamental and applied questions concerning new biological measurement regimes and conquering challenges concerned with analysis and diagnosis with bioelectronics. Applications are highlighted by almost every initiative for health, environment, energy, security and quality of life in all parts of the world, with some of the most influential research embracing  electrochemical and optical systems that integrate engineered biology and novel bioinspired molecular-selective nanomaterials.

The unique CAB approach is characterised by end-to-end analytical systems from dynamics of molecular signalling to transduction technologies and application; this requires interdisciplinarity, adopting methods from biotechnology, engineering and chemistry. The group has a world-class reputation for its lead in applied innovative research, bridging theoretical methods and modelling with lab-based experimental science.

The research project base is designed to achieve a necessary balance between fundamental investigation (blue skies research) and precompetitive application-orientated collaboration with industry. Industrially sponsored research is organised to achieve a truly collaborative format, with active input from all partners and 2-way exchange of expertise, intellectual and commercial invention and development.

CAB also has a special interest in improving access to diagnostics in low and middle income countries (LMICs) without global purchasing price parity across borders. Partnering with colleagues in LMICs the group  is using synthetic biology techniques to develop local integrated diagnostic manufacturing and designing affordable local production and testing without a cold chain.

Group Leader

Prof. Elizabeth (Lisa) A H Hall
Professor of Analytical Biotechnology

Glucose Sensing

From 1990-2005, CAB were investigating the electrochemical impedance spectra of various biosensors targeting glucose with the aim to deconvolve overlapping electrochemical signals and extract more detailed and accurate measurement data. Starting with signal deconvolution in complex conducting polymers, the research also looked at ‘simple’ electrode systems as well as mediated electrochemistry providing some new insight to signal deconvolution and providing a basis for further development. Sridhar Iyengar’s (Marshall Scholar 1998-2002) research on electrochemical modulation of glucose biosensors in the frequency domain, provided an initial impetus to examine accuracy limitations in clinical glucose measurement. This was a catalyst for solving some of the limitations in glucose test strip measurements Together with Dr Justin Gooding, PDRA 1994-96 and Dr Ian Harding, PDRA, 1997-2001, AgaMatrix was founded in 2001 and developed the ‘wavesense’ technology (CTO, Sridhar Iyengar). In 2011, the iBGStar was the first smartphone linked diagnostic glucometer to be FDA approved. The technology was widely used in NHS and selected as an impact case study for REF2014; it received special acclaim in REF feedback.

 

AfriDx - Diagnostic Project

AfriDx is an initiative to develop systems for the clinical diagnosis of Covid-19 designed to be manufactured in low and middle-income countries. 

AfriDx is a consortium of partners based in Europe and Africa to create a solution for locally manufactured Covid-19 diagnostic systems. Our partners include the Danish Technical University, Avoma Group (PTY) Ltd, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and the University of Cambridge. 

Find out more about the project on the AfriDx website