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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H024476/1
Title: Nano Lab Cross Disciplinary Feasibility Account
Principal Investigator: O'Neill, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Tian, Professor G Baker, Professor SN Chinnery, Professor P
McCaskie, Professor A Jackson, Professor A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Electrical, Electronic & Computer Eng
Organisation: Newcastle University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2009 Ends: 30 April 2011 Value (£): 201,293
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Human-Computer Interactions Instrumentation Eng. & Dev.
Lasers & Optics Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics Healthcare
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
11 Sep 2009 Cross-Disciplinary Feasibility Account Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The complex machinery underlying biological function operates at a scale that is far smaller than traditional medical devices. However, advances in nanotechnologies for the first time allow us to fabricate sensors and electronics with dimensions compatible to cellular and sub-cellular structures, opening new possibilities for diagnosing and treating human disease. Long-standing strengths in biomedical and nanoscience research place Newcastle University in an ideal position to capitalise on these opportunities, but only if existing collaboration between the disciplines can be consolidated and new links forged. This proposal will achieve this by providing a forum for engineers, medical scientists and clinicians to present technologies, applications and patient needs, and to support scoping studies into adventurous, novel nanomedicine projects that emerge. We have identified two projects to be investigated initially: nanoscale smart card technology and nanoscale neural interfaces. Smart cards (for example chip and PIN credit cards) contain embedded electronic circuits that receive power and communicates via electromagnetic induction. In principle, such technology can be implemented in devices less than a thousandth of a millimetre in size, which could be placed inside cells within the body to sense and relay valuable diagnostic information. Neural interfaces communicate electrically with nerve cells in the body and have numerous applications for treating neurological disorders, for example as neural prostheses to restore movement to paralysed patients. However, the long-term stability of such interfaces is compromised by the tissue response to foreign bodies, caused in part by the mismatch in the scale of brain cells and the implanted wire electrodes. By incorporating nanowire features onto these electrodes we anticipate that this problem can be overcome. Both these projects potentially offer a high reward in terms of clinical application, but are high risk because the novel nanotechnologies have yet to be demonstrated in a biological setting. This proposal will allow researchers to carry out preliminary feasibility studies in support of further funding, advised by a steering panel of academics drawn from a range of specialities with strong cross-disciplinary track records. In addition, the panel will assess and allocate resources to other nanomedicine proposals arising out of our discussion forums. The overall aim is to foster a culture of cross-disciplinary interaction, enabling cutting-edge technologies to be targeted to real, unmet clinical needs.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk