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Platform 6: Diagnostics

World-leading surface design and analysis, through the University of Liverpool’s Surface Science Research Centre, is enabling anti-infective and vector control surfaces to be evaluated, optimised and upscaled via knowledge-based engineering.

This Interdisciplinary Research Centre, which also houses the Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces, features sophisticated surface sensitive spectroscopic and imaging techniques. These allow surfaces to be mapped at the nanoscale level and enables the interaction between technology and biological systems to be studied with precision. Our expertise is available to support industry in leveraging this technology to bring forward innovation in the anti-infective surfaces space.

 

Developing innovative diagnostics

This programme is designed to develop, evaluate and validate novel antigen and molecular based diagnostics. Our team offers industry access to world-leading expertise and facilities that support every stage of the product journey, from early-stage concept, through evaluation and regulatory approval. We work with industry to assess analytical sensitivity and efficacy in real-world settings, providing valuable insights to accelerate optimal diagnostic deployment. The platform’s industry partners benefit from a broad diagnostic focus and expertise across a range of platforms including lateral-flow, antibody, antigen, and molecular testing.

The diagnostics team continues to support the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND)
as the UK evaluation site for antigen and antibody diagnostic tests for COVID-19. This support was initially using samples recruited from volunteers attending the government drive-through testing facility at Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Now that this site has closed, the team is continuing evaluations on patients attending hospitals in Liverpool.

This hub of diagnostics research expertise has access to the largest complement of Containment Level Three laboratories in the North West. Able to handle and process hazardous pathogens, including the live SARS-COV-2 virus, the team maintains cultures of the latest variants of concern.

These facilities and capabilities enable the team to quickly respond to changing circumstances and means it has experienced significant demand from commercial companies to establish partnerships and ongoing collaborations. Much of this demand stems from the continuing need to test the performance

of COVID-19 diagnostics against newer variants and more recently there has been a requirement for our skills and capabilities from companies developing and wishing to evaluate Monkeypox tests.

 

Break-through sensor technology

This platform utilises sensor technology with advanced AI analysis to help develop point of use non-invasive diagnostics. These range from the measurement of parasites in peripheral blood to quantification of insecticide concentrations on a range of surfaces.

Our team is based at a world-class sensors laboratory located at the Liverpool Life Sciences Accelerator. The technology in this lab, developed by Liverpool John Moores University’s BEST Research Institute, is designed to support the real-world development and evaluation of impactful non- invasive diagnostics to quality assure and monitor infectious disease prevention and treatment in order to better protect communities.

For more information or to learn how your business can engage with this platform.

Email Dr Lizzie Crawford

Professor Andy Shaw

Platform Lead

Professor Andy Shaw

Head of the Built Environment and Sustainable Technology Research Institute (BEST) in the Faculty of Engineering and Technology at Liverpool John Moores University

Professor Shaw also leads the RF and Microwave (RFM) research theme within the institute. He graduated from the University of Liverpool with a BEng Hons in Electrical and Electronic engineering in 1990, a MSc in Materials Science (Engineering) in 1991 and a Ph.D. in 1995, titled “The realisation of an industrial free electron laser”. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Liverpool for 8 years on industrial microwave applications for both material processing, sensor technologies and microwave plasma applications.

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Professor Rasmita Raval

Platform Lead

Professor Rasmita Raval

Professor in Chemistry and Director of the Surface Science Research Centre at the University of Liverpool

Professor Raval is also the Director of ‘The Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces’ and is one of the four co-directors of the UK ‘National Biofilms Innovation Centre’.

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Dr Ana Isabel Cubas Atienzar

Platform Lead

Dr Ana Isabel Cubas Atienzar

Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Ana obtained her degree in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Murcia in 2013. In 2017 Ana obtained her PhD from the Salford University (UK). Her PhD focused on the epidemiology and genetic diversity of parasite Toxoplasma gondii in the Peninsula of Yucatan, Mexico. Shortly after her PhD she was appointed as Research Fellow at the Roslin Institute, in Edinburgh where she worked on diagnostic development for porcine viral and bacterial diseases.

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