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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S001514/1
Title: High-Throughput Diagnostics with Chiral Plasmonic Assays
Principal Investigator: Karimullah, Dr AS
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Avacta Group Plc Horiba (International) NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
Department: School of Chemistry
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship - NHFP
Starts: 25 June 2018 Ends: 31 December 2021 Value (£): 621,323
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Bionanoscience Optical Devices & Subsystems
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
10 May 2018 EPSRC UKRI CL Innovation Fellowship Interview Panel 9 - 10 and 11 May 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Biological structure of proteins determines their functionality. It dictates how the proteins interact with other molecules, which is significantly important in medical diagnostics that use proteins to detect markers for disease or modern therapeutics where drugs will interact with proteins in the body. Determining the changes to a protein structure can be extremely useful in improving diagnostic capabilities by simplifying current chemical tests so that clinicians can get results faster and with added information about how the proteins interacted. This can improve their ability to diagnose patients and provide appropriate medication immediately. With the inexorable emergence of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens, this would be extremely useful to curtail excessive antibiotics. However, determining the structure of a protein requires detailed, tedious and expensive techniques such as x-ray crystallography. Optical spectroscopy techniques are not sensitive to the entire structure of a protein and all these methods require large sample quantities, eliminating their use for rapid routine diagnostics. I propose to develop and exploit a new class of label-free biostructure sensitive tests (assays) for diagnostics based on the novel phenomenon of chiral plasmonic sensing. This technique, discovered through EPSRC funded research, is capable of rapidly sensing conformational (structural) changes in a monolayer of biomolecules. The proposed "Chiral Plasmonic Assays" (CPAs) will enable applications such as detection of multiple pathogens and improve drug discovery techniques. These unique assays will use conformational changes to detect biophysical activity and provide insight into the behaviour of the molecular structure for rapid routine diagnostics. CPAs will be sensitive to picomole quantities of the target in clinical samples (blood serum, saliva) without complex flow systems, hence overcoming the limitations faced by current optical techniques such as surface plasmon resonance. CPAs will mitigate the need for multiple chemical steps that are required in popular chemical assays and require minute sample quantities without multiple reagents and problems like cross-reactivity. Using unique templated plasmonic devices pioneered in Glasgow, made using the same technology as Blu-ray discs, chiral plasmonic assays will be low-cost, high-throughput diagnostic kits. This innovation will use rapid imaging tools developed through funding from QUANTIC (EPSRC) with industrial partners HORIBA Scientific and cutting-edge customisable protein technology developed by industrial partner Avacta Life Sciences to achieve highly multiplexed diagnostics. In particular, this research will develop CPAs to detect diseases like sepsis, a leading cause for hospital deaths and invasive aspergillosis, a fungal infection that plagues cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy. This technology will penetrate into the label-free diagnostic market (>£1 billion by 2022) and in vitro diagnostics market worth over £40 billion, supporting UK's position as a leader in healthcare technology. This fellowship will enable myself to dedicate my time and provide resources to develop and prove this revolutionary new diagnostic platform that will fuel my entrepreneurial ambitions to change our current approach to biochemical diagnostics.
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.gla.ac.uk