A primary motivation of our research is the monitoring of physical, physiological, and biochemical parameters - in any environment and without activity restriction and behaviour modification - through using miniaturised, wireless Body Sensor Networks (BSN). Key research issues that are currently being addressed include novel sensor designs, ultra-low power microprocessor and wireless platforms, energy scavenging, biocompatibility, system integration and miniaturisation, processing-on-node technologies combined with novel ASIC design, autonomic sensor networks and light-weight communication protocols. Our research is aimed at addressing the future needs of life-long health, wellbeing and healthcare, particularly those related to demographic changes associated with an ageing population and patients with chronic illnesses. This research theme is therefore closely aligned with the IGHI’s vision of providing safe, effective and accessible technologies for both developed and developing countries.

Some of our latest works were exhibited at the 2015 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.

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  • Journal article
    Gil B, Anastasova S, Yang GZ, 2019,

    A smart wireless ear-worn device for cardiovascular and sweat parameter monitoring during physical exercise: design and performance results

    , Sensors, Vol: 19, Pages: 1-17, ISSN: 1424-8220

    Wearable biomedical technology has gained much support lately as devices have become more affordable to the general public and they can easily interact with mobile phones and other platforms. The feasibility and accuracy of the data generated by these devices so as to replace the standard medical methods in use today is still under scrutiny. In this paper, we present an ear-worn device to measure cardiovascular and sweat parameters during physical exercise. ECG bipolar recordings capture the electric potential around both ears, whereas sweat rate is estimated by the impedance method over one segment of tissue closer to the left ear, complemented by the measurement of the lactate and pH levels using amperiometric and potentiometric sensors, respectively. Together with head acceleration, the acquired data is sent to a mobile phone via BLE, enabling extended periods of signal recording. Results obtained by the device have shown a SNR level of 18 dB for the ECG signal recorded around the ears, a THD value of −20.46 dB for the excitation signal involved in impedance measurements, sweat conductivity of 0.08 S/m at 1 kHz and sensitivities of 50 mV/pH and 0.8 μA/mM for the pH and lactate acquisition channels, respectively. Testing of the device was performed in human subjects during indoors cycling with characteristic level changes.

  • Journal article
    Maciel VG, Wales DJ, Seferin M, Sans Vet al., 2019,

    Environmental performance of 3D-Printing polymerisable ionic liquids

    , JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION, Vol: 214, Pages: 29-40, ISSN: 0959-6526
  • Conference paper
    Kim JA, Wales DJ, Thompson AJ, Yang G-Zet al., 2019,

    Towards development of fibre-optic surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy probes using 2-photon polymerisation for rapid detection of bacteria

    , Plasmonics in Biology and Medicine XVI, Publisher: SPIE, ISSN: 0277-786X

    In this study, a variety of direct laser written surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) micro-structures, designed for bacteria detection, are presented. Various SERS micro-structures were designed to achieve both a high density of plasmonic hot spots and a strong probability of interaction between the hot spots and the target bacterial cells. Twophoton polymerization was used for initial fabrication of the polymeric skeletons of the SERS micro-structures, which were then coated with a 50 nm-thick gold layer via e-beam evaporation. The micro-structures were fabricated on glass coverslips and were assessed using a confocal Raman microscope. To this end, Rhodamine 6G was used as an analyte under 785 nm laser illumination. The optimal SERS micro-structures showed approximately 7×103 enhancement in Raman signal (analytical enhancement factor, AEF) at a wavenumber of 600 cm-1. Real-time detection of E. coli in solution was demonstrated using the fabricated SERS platform with low laser powers and a short acquisition time (785 nm, 5 mW, 50 ms).

  • Journal article
    Cameron SJS, Bodai Z, Temelkuran B, Perdones-Montero A, Bolt F, Burke A, Alexander-Hardiman K, Salzet M, Fournier I, Rebec M, Takáts Zet al., 2019,

    Utilisation of Ambient Laser Desorption Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (ALDI-MS) improves lipid-based microbial species level identification

    , Scientific Reports, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2045-2322

    The accurate and timely identification of the causative organism of infection is important in ensuring the optimum treatment regimen is prescribed for a patient. Rapid evaporative ionisation mass spectrometry (REIMS), using electrical diathermy for the thermal disruption of a sample, has been shown to provide fast and accurate identification of microorganisms directly from culture. However, this method requires contact to be made between the REIMS probe and microbial biomass; resulting in the necessity to clean or replace the probes between analyses. Here, optimisation and utilisation of ambient laser desorption ionisation (ALDI) for improved speciation accuracy and analytical throughput is shown. Optimisation was completed on 15 isolates of Escherichia coli, showing 5 W in pulsatile mode produced the highest signal-to-noise ratio. These parameters were used in the analysis of 150 clinical isolates from ten microbial species, resulting in a speciation accuracy of 99.4% - higher than all previously reported REIMS modalities. Comparison of spectral data showed high levels of similarity between previously published electrical diathermy REIMS data. ALDI does not require contact to be made with the sample during analysis, meaning analytical throughput can be substantially improved, and further, increases the range of sample types which can be analysed in potential direct-from-sample pathogen detection.

  • Journal article
    Singh M, Nabavi E, Zhou Y, Gallina ME, Zhao H, Ruenraroengsak P, Porter AE, Ma D, Cass AEG, Hanna GB, Elson DSet al., 2019,

    Laparoscopic fluorescence image-guided photothermal therapy enhances cancer diagnosis and treatment

    , Nanotheranostics, Vol: 3, Pages: 89-102, ISSN: 2206-7418

    Endoscopy is the gold standard investigation in the diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancers and the management of early and pre-malignant lesions either by resection or ablation. Recently gold nanoparticles have shown promise in cancer diagnosis and therapeutics (theranostics). The combination of multifunctional gold nanoparticles with near infrared fluorescence endoscopy for accurate mapping of early or pre-malignant lesions can potentially enhance diagnostic efficiency while precisely directing endoscopic near infrared photothermal therapy for established cancers. The integration of endoscopy with near infrared fluorescence imaging and photothermal therapy was aided by the accumulation of our multifunctionalized PEG-GNR-Cy5.5-anti-EGFR-antibody gold nanorods within gastrointestinal tumor xenografts in BALB/c mice. Control mice (with tumors) received either gold nanorods or photothermal therapy, while study mice received both treatment modalities. Local (tumor-centric) and systemic effects were examined for 30 days. Clear endoscopic near infrared fluorescence signals were observed emanating specifically from tumor sites and these corresponded precisely to the tumor margins. Endoscopic fluorescence-guided near infrared photothermal therapy successfully induced tumor ablations in all 20 mice studied, with complete histological clearance and minimal collateral damage. Multi-source analysis from histology, electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, blood, clinical evaluation, psychosocial and weight monitoring demonstrated the inherent safety of this technology. The combination of this innovative nanotechnology with gold standard clinical practice will be of value in enhancing the early optical detection of gastrointestinal cancers and a useful adjunct for its therapy.

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