Research

We are interested in developing new biosensing platforms for the detection of a wide variety of biomolecules, ranging from small molecules, to proteins, and cells and bacteria.

We focus on two specific areas:

  1. design of synthetic receptors for biomolecules of interest
  2. new detection methods (thermo-electric and colourimetric detection) to measure these biomolecules in biological samples

Visit our YouTube channel for an explanation of the latest projects we are working on:

In terms of designing synthetic receptors, Dr. Peeters has worked on polymeric receptors (Molecularly Imprinted Polymers) and DNA sensors (aptamers). She has developed MIP-based sensors for the detection of small organic molecules, proteins, cells and bacteria.  Aptamer-based sensors were employed to determine trace levels of peanut proteins, which is used for allergen screening in food samples. The advantages of the use of synthetic receptors, such as MIPs, over natural recognition elements such as enzymes and antibodies is discussed in this video produced by MIP Diagnostics. In particular, the focus of this work is to provide an alternative to traditional immunoassays in order to reduce the number of animals used in research (in line with the concept of 3Rs).

Dr. Peeters has done extensive work on the use of the heat-transfer method (HTM) to detect neurotransmitters and proteins (4 patents granted, see publication section).

Two main lines of research at the moment include the production of sensors for cardiac biomarkers and detection of antimicrobial resistance.

Current collaborators include:

-Newcastle University: Dr  Novakovic, Prof. Geoghegan

-Manchester Metropolitan University: Prof. Banks, Dr Tedesco, Dr. Crapnell

-University of Antwerp (Belgium): Prof. de Wael

-KU Leuven (Belgium): Prof. Wagner

-Maastricht Science Programme (the Netherlands): Prof. Cleij, Dr. van Grinsven, Dr. Eersels

-BAM Berlin (Germany), Prof. Rurack

-Universidade de Sao Paulo (Brazil): Prof. Gruber, RSC research mobility March 2018