Miniaturisation and integration of analytical systems for applications including environmental monitoring, point-of-care diagnostics and bioprocess monitoring is a significant research theme. Analytical system components of interest include catalytic surfaces, responsive chemical- and bio-interfaces, micro- and nano-fluidics and ultra-sensitive detection systems. 3D printing of system components is underpinned by the expertise of the Centre. Instrumentation-based analytical systems are a workhorse and used to investigate new and novel matrices and samples, characterise collected samples, as well as for validation of new sensor protocols.
Biodesigned/bioinspired materials and systems
The design of bio-inspired materials, sensor interfaces and even whole systems requires a deep understanding of the interplay between morphology, microstructure, and composition of stimuli-responsive materials as well as their sensing functionality. For the translation of such materials into bio-inspired sensing and actuating systems, design principles and the technologies for forming these materials. In particular, bio-inspired sensing attempts to identify and understand relevant paradigms in sensors of biological origin and to adapt these paradigms to develop efficient sensor materials and devices. Accordingly, bio-inspired sensing is a broad and interdisciplinary field that brings together NCSR researchers from biology, engineering, material science and beyond.
Innovations in materials and instrumentation are enabling the radical redesign of the biosensor for health measurements to be collected and analysed in decentralized settings, outside of a clinical laboratory, often autonomously by on-body deployments by the individual themselves. Wearable medical devices have entered the digital health arena to fostering personalized healthcare. The NCSR research programme brings together analytical chemists, physicists and biomedical scientists to work with clinicians and data scientists to pioneer translational research to address personalised health through wearable devices. Research centres on harvesting biomarkers from the body in non-invasive modes, the study of these new biomarkers in-vivo and in-vitro to understand clinical relevance, the convergence of materials and analytical chemistry to design sampling protocols coupled with in-situ molecular recognition , and the engineering and systems integration of these materials to realise autonomous function. By incorporating and integrating these exciting research areas, the NCSR has the capacity to deliver new solutions addressing personalised management of disease in particular chronic conditions as they relate to our ageing population.
Bacterial colonization of surfaces and interfaces has a major impact on various areas including biotechnology, medicine, food industries, and water technologies. Bacterial attachment and subsequent biofilm formation on sensing interfaces in particular represents a huge risk to sensor function as well as being a potential infection risk. The biofilm research theme in the NCSR seeks to fundamentally study biofilm formation and the microbial communication processes driving their formation. Surface engineering taking inspiration from nature to prevent these processes is also of significant interest to our NCSR PIs.