Published: 09 October 2014

Senior Lecturer edits new book on smart materials

Dr Sub Reddy, Senior Lecturer in Applied Analytical Chemistry, has edited and co-authored a book about advanced synthetic materials capable of detecting the presence of disease, contamination and pollution.

The new publication, ‘Advanced Synthetic Materials in Detection Science’ has been published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Launched in September 2014, the book is aimed at postgraduate students and researchers in academia and industry, and covers key developments in the field of synthetic smart materials. Based on nanotechnology, these materials mimic biological function and have wide potential uses in health, the environment and food industries.

Dr Reddy has written the book with contributing authors including his departmental colleagues and international research collaborators from the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) and North Carolina State University (USA). Surrey’s link with these two international partners was formed with support from the UGPN (University Global Partnership Network) and has also recently led to the collaborators’ first joint research paper being published on smart materials.

Dr Reddy explains, “Our smart materials are able to measure biomarkers present in the body, food or the environment, which means they could potentially be used for applications such as cancer diagnosis or as an early indicator of food contamination or spoilage. They can also test for the presence of pollutants or viruses affecting plants or animals, or even to confirm the presence of biological warfare agents.

“While these tasks can be achieved using animal antibodies, MIPs (Molecularly Imprinted Polymers) or ‘plastic antibodies’ can do the same job for a fraction of the cost, while also removing any potentially negative ethical considerations.”

As highlighted by Dr Reddy in the new book, this type of technological development has paved the way for smart indicators – indicators which change colour in response to the presence of contamination, which could have broad use in the food packaging industry.

Chapters from the book draw on Dr Reddy’s research at Surrey, which focuses on large biomolecule (protein) recognition and the development of synthetic antibody technologies using hydrogel-based MIPs. His research is currently funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the Royal Society and British Council (UKIERI).

The book is part of a series of books being published by the Royal Society of Chemistry covering various aspects of modern detection science, for which Dr Reddy is also a Series Editor.


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