New £1.5m Centre could unlock the secrets of diseases, molecule-by-molecule
A new research facility at the University of Surrey could soon help society better diagnose and treat human and animal diseases, or even help scientists trace nanoplastics through the bodies and cells of humans and animals.
Thanks to a £500,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation, Surrey will soon open the doors to its Centre of Excellence for Bioanalytical Science. Leading researchers will use a unique blend of high-end equipment – including ion beams. The Centre will develop new ways of measuring biomarkers that are unavailable anywhere else in the world.
Our new Centre will drive forward the next generation of technologies and biomarker measurements that are smarter, faster and environmentally friendly. Our novel approach to measurement will enable new research aimed at combatting anti-microbial resistance, exploring the impact of nanoplastics on human and animal health, non-invasive patient sampling and rapid clinical diagnostics for humans and animals.Professor Melanie Bailey, Theme Leader for Health and Food Technologies, EPSRC Fellow, and Reader in Analytical Science
Biomarkers are chemical signatures widely used in biology and medicine to monitor health and wellness, diagnose diseases earlier, and understand and treat diseases. They are an essential element in veterinary medicine as well as human medicine. We will be the world’s first Bioanalytical Centre with a major commitment to animal health.
As well as enabling new research in science and medicine, the Centre will provide a specialist measurement service, train the next generation of scientists and offer an innovation hub for academic, industry, government, and NHS partners.
Our team already has a lot of experience in finding biomarkers and disease mechanisms in humans. The new Centre gives us the unique opportunity to work more effectively with veterinarians, artificial intelligence experts and animal health companies to improve veterinary diagnostics and treatments. This will help improve companion animal health, food security and sustainability.Professor Tony Whetton, Professor of Translational Biosystems
Through our Centre, academics and industry will work together like never before. Our research will make a real impact by harnessing the power of AI-driven multi-omics and multi-modal imaging.Professor Paul Townsend, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
We will transform how we treat and diagnose disease. We could develop non-invasive tests to check if someone has taken their medicine, or even help in forensics – we are asking big questions and are aiming to find big answers.
The Centre will make use of the Surrey Ion Beam Centre, an Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council national research facility. The Ion Beam Centre already supports £100 million in funding from 23 universities and industries.
It will develop new methodologies not available anywhere else internationally, including multi-modal ion beam analysis – which uses high and low energy beams to precisely locate individual molecules within a cell.
Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine has a developed ecosystem for entrepreneurial research, vHive (the Veterinary Health Innovation Engine). It is a clearing house for new ideas that will improve animal health. The multidimensional expertise of the new Centre will uniquely enable Surrey to enhance treatment and diagnosis in a range of different species, from companion animals to livestock.
The Centre will work closely with Surrey’s SEISMIC facility to use advanced technology to analyse individual cells and parts of cells. All of the Centre's research will incorporate artificial intelligence to maximise understanding and use of findings.
The Centre will be led by Professors Anthony Whetton, Melanie Bailey and Paul Townsend.
Notes to editors
- Professors Melanie Bailey and Paul Townsend are available for interview upon request.
- For more information, please contact the University of Surrey’s press office via email@example.com
The Wolfson Foundation is an independent charity with a focus on research and education. Its aim is to support civil society by investing in excellent projects in science, health, heritage, humanities and the arts.
Since it was established in 1955, some £1 billion (£2 billion in real terms) has been awarded to more than 12,000 projects throughout the UK, all on the basis of expert review.
Prof Melanie BaileyTheme Leader for Health and Food Technologies, EPSRC Fellow, and Reader in Analytical Science
Prof Paul TownsendPro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
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