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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R04256X/1
Title: Bionanofabrication Suite
Principal Investigator: Boutelle, Professor MG
Other Investigators:
Coombes, Professor C Almquist, Dr BD Green, Professor R
Toumazou, Professor C Jennings, Professor N Stevens, Professor M
Güder, Dr F
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Oxford Instruments Plc
Department: Bioengineering
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 August 2018 Ends: 31 July 2023 Value (£): 1,347,941
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
13 Mar 2018 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Interview Panel March 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This strategic equipment proposal is for a new class of instrument, a Bionanofabrication suite, to link together the worlds of precision devices with that of biomolecules and drugs to make new classes of biomedical devices.

The world of electronic equipment has been revolutionised by the precise fabrication techniques of the semiconductor industry. In the past electrical circuits were hand assembled from discrete highly variable electrical components. The advent of microfabrication techniques first enabled the robust combinations of components to make integrated devices such as transistors and amplifiers. Continued development of processes has led to the current advanced state where we each carry a super-computer in our pockets - we just call it a mobile phone.

This proposal seeks to enable the same transformation for biomedical measurement and therapy delivery devices. From the patient perspective, the devices used to measure molecular biomarkers of disease or injury are largely unchanged over the last 20 years. Blood or other body fluid samples are taken, processed in a central laboratory or maybe in the ward and the results logged in a chart. Similarly, drugs are delivered by mouth or by venous injection. Ultimately, even in intensive care measurements are made on an hourly basis. We will develop technologies to build new biomedical / bioelectronics devices that measure from cells and tissue continuously, or target therapy in a controlled way at the site of action. Potentially, we can envisage implantable devices that deliver therapy in response to the tissue signals measured by the device. This would allow truly individualised therapy.

The atom-based building and etching instruments that have been continuously refined by the modern semiconductor industry can also be used to make the sensing surfaces, channels and detectors required for a measurement device. However, current manufacturing processes run at high temperatures with a very limited range of silicon-based materials. The Bionanofabrication suite will bring together for the first time, in the same instrument, atom-based building and etching processes that are capable of running at room temperature with a wide range of final surface chemistries. The Bionanofabrication suite will operate within a quality management system, addressing an important hurdle for the early clinical testing of new medical devices.

Devices that are subsequently shown to be successful clinically, could be put into production using the fabrication techniques developed within this grant without the need for changing production methods.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk