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Bio-Sensing Technology Series: Microbial detection and biocontrol 

Posted by Denise Hope | 0 comments
29Aug2012
Welcome to the third article in our Bio-Sensing Technology series, looking at microbial detection and biocontrol. This technology is led by Dr Darren Reynolds and we ask him to tell us a bit more about his research.

So what is microbial detection and biocontrol? What are the benefits and applications?
Microbial Detection and Biocontrol methods can be developed to ensure effective safeguarding of human health within environmental, healthcare and agri-food processes. Microbial detection and biocontrol technology platforms have been developed for a range of industrial and biomedical applications in collaboration with academia, business and enterprise.

Applied microbiological modelling and bio-photonics techniques (including low-light imaging, hyperspectral imaging and spectro-fluorometry) are used for the quantitative analysis and spectroscopic interrogation of biological processes.

Can you give us some examples of projects where the paramagnetic particle-based detection system has been used?

Electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS)
Due to the limitations associated with the use of existing biocidal agents, there is a need to explore new methods of decontamination to help maintain effective bioburden control, especially within the healthcare environment. ECAS have been shown to have broad spectrum antimicrobial activity and have the potential to be widely adopted due to low cost raw material requirements, ease of production and biocompatibility. The institute has expertise in the development and deployment of these novel biocides, including research undertaken in biodefence, biocontrol and food quality and safety.

Water quality sensors
In collaboration with industry, cutting edge deployable optical sensors for water quality monitoring based on fluorescence spectroscopy are being developed. These sensors can be deployed and left in situ for extended periods enabling online real-time water quality monitoring.

Bacteriophage (viruses that infect bacteria)
Bacteriophages are perhaps the most predominant biological entities in the biosphere and have great potential as antimicrobial agents within clinical and industrial settings. Real-time detection technologies based on bioluminescent bacterial reporters are utilised to screen for and determine the efficacy of, newly discovered bacteriophages for use within clinical, food safety and agricultural applications.

Non-thermal plasma
Non-thermal plasma is generated by electric discharge excitation producing a neutral ionised gas. This novel technology has known antimicrobial properties and is being evaluated in collaboration with industrial partners for various decontamination applications.

Lead researchers: Dr Darren Reynolds, University of the West of England

For more information about Microbial Detection and Biocontrol, please visit the Centre for Research in Biosciences website.

Professor Julie Kent launches new book: Regenerating Bodies 

Posted by Denise Hope | 1 comment
23May2012

Professor Julie KentCongratulations to Professor Julie Kent who has launched her new book which draws together the findings of ten years social research in the emerging area of regenerative medicine.

This exciting book examines how human tissues and cells are being exchanged, commodified and commercialized by new health technologies. Through a discussion of emergent global ‘tissue economies’ Julie explores the social dynamics of innovation in the fields of tissue engineering and stem cell science. The book explores how regenerative medicine configures and conceptualizes bodies and argues that the development of regenerative medicine is a feminist issue.

Regenerating BodiesThe book considers the claims that regenerative medicine represents exciting possibilities for treating the diseases of ageing bodies, critically assessing what kind of futures are embodied in tissue and cell based therapies. It will be of interest to a wide range of scholars and students within the social sciences, in health technology studies, bioethics, feminist studies, and gender and health studies.

For further information go to the book page on the publisher's website or contact Professor Julie Kent.

UK's largest robot lab opens for business 

Posted by Denise Hope | 3 comments
10May2012

Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), the largest robotics laboratory of its type in the UK was officially opened today by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science.

The Laboratory is a partnership between the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol. BRL strives to understand the science, engineering and social role of robotics and embedded intelligence.

The BRL is home to a community of 70 academics and businesses who are leading current thinking in nouvelle and service robotics, intelligent autonomous systems and bio-engineering. Over £1.65 million has been spent on the new facilities. The total area of the BRL is circa 2,400 sqm, with over 300 metres of specialised laboratory space and two Flying Arenas.

In this video, Professor Chris Melhuish, Director of the BRL, discusses the contributions the BRL will make to worldwide robotics research.

For further information read the full UWE press release here or view the Bristol Robotics Laboratory web pages

Bio-Sensing Technology Series: Microbial Fuel Cells 

Posted by Denise Hope | 1 comment
04Apr2012
Ioannis IeropoulosWelcome to the first of our Bio-Sensing Technology series, looking at Microbial Fuel Cells. This technology is led by Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos, a Senior Research Fellow in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) and we ask him to tell us a bit more about his research.

So what is Microbial Fuel Cell technology?
Microbial fuel cells employ live bacteria to produce electricity by breaking down organic matter. The technology commonly consists of two halfcells – an anode and a cathode – that are separated by an ion selective membrane. Commonly bacteria are in the anode side, and chemicals or oxygen are in the cathode side, which complete the reactions (ie close the circuit) to generate power.

What are the applications of MFC?
This technology looks at utilising a wide range of organic compounds that are considered to be waste, for creating energy. The MFC technology may have potential in a domestic or village setting for the micro-generation of energy.

Applications primarily include Autonomous Robotics, stand-alone Remote Sensing, Waste and Wastewater treatment and utilisation. Further developments may include the powering of other specialized off-the-grid equipment such as portable IT systems, Environmental Monitoring tools and Medical Support apparatus.

Can you give us some examples of projects where MFC has been used?
The MFCs technology has already been used to generate power for autonomous robots, such as EcoBot-I (powered by sugar), EcoBot-II (powered by flies and rotten fruit diet) and EcoBot- III (powered by wastewater).

What are you working on at the moment?
The latest project, ‘Urine-tricity: electricity from urine',  aims to produce electricity from urine through stacks of small-scale microbial fuel cells whilst at the same time cleaning the urine stream and getting rid of pathogens that may be found in urine. The project, if successful, has the potential to achieve energy recovery from urine and other waste streams, and produce a cleaner effluent, which is dischargeable into the environment without expensive wastewater treatment in developing world countries.  



Lead researcher: Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos

For more information about Microbial fuel cells, please visit the Bristol Robotics Laboratory website.

Men and Cancer conference 

Posted by Kathleen Steeden | 0 comments
05May2011
Men and Cancer conference flyerThe Institute of Bio-Sensing Tcehnology are organising a one day conference exploring issues around Men and Cancer. The conference is being held at the UWE Conference and Exhibition Centre and will look at new developments in the research, diagnosis, treatment and care of men with cancer. There will be talks from experts on:
  • Diet and prostate cancer
  • Men and inequalities in cancer
  • Early diagnosis
  • Clinical developments
  • Current treatments and initiatives
  • Prostate cancer in Asia.

The conference is open to the public and healthcare professionals.

Click here to find out more and to register for the event