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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X034801/1
Title: University of Leeds Core Equipment Award 2022
Principal Investigator: Plant, Professor N
Other Investigators:
CAYRE, Dr OJ Barker, Dr R Mattsson, Dr K
Marsden, Professor SP Walti, Professor CP
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemical and Process Engineering
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 03 January 2023 Ends: 02 July 2024 Value (£): 1,250,000
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Chemical Biology Chemical Synthetic Methodology
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Nov 2022 EPSRC Core Equipment Award - Panel Two Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The award will deliver new research equipment to be used by a wide range of scientists and engineers at the University of Leeds (and beyond). The instruments will provide new or improved capabilities for the analysis of complex chemical samples of relevance to the discovery and manufacture of new functional materials and molecules, and for the continuous monitoring of cell-development for biophysical and engineering-driven biomedical research. The instruments will be housed in dedicated facilities with full support and training from dedicated research and technical professionals. Access to the instruments will be open to researchers at all career stages, with a special focus on supporting the training and development of those undertaking doctoral degrees.

The two specific items of equipment are:

1) Gas Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometer

This instrument combines gas chromatography - the separation of mixtures of volatilised compounds by passage over a solid matrix in the gas phase - with mass spectrometry - where ionised forms of the molecules of interest are formed and separated based on their mass-to-charge ratio. Tandem mass spectrometry allows a second MS phase in which the initially formed ions are further fragmented and the fragments detected. This allows, for example, highly accurate detection of trace analytes in complex matrices (e.g. environmental or biologically-derived samples) and/or structural elucidation between e.g. isomeric molecules with very similar physical properties.

Research undertaken using this equipment will impact a broad range of research, including the use of data-driven 'self-optimising' approaches to the rapid development of chemical manufacturing processes, the creation of new sustainable polymer materials from biorenewable feedstocks, and the analysis of trace but important contaminants in combustion and carbon capture processes.

2) Time-Lapse Live Cell-Imaging System

Time-lapse live cell imaging systems are optical microscopes which can monitor the development of live cells in model organs in real-time for extended periods without external intervention. The instrument can monitor changes in light emission (fluorescence) using single or multiple colours (wavelengths), and allows scientists and engineers to observe how cells develop within model organs under a range of conditions.

Research undertaken using this equipment allows us to model and study biological processes in vitro, addressing such fundamentally and clinically-important questions as "how are drugs trafficked within organs?", "how do cancer cells arrange themselves as they develop into tumours?" and "how can we develop improved methods for in vitro fertilisation?"

The research discoveries enabled by this investment in equipment will be disseminated through publication in appropriate open-access journals. The facilities will also support the growth of collaborative work between the University and business, from SMEs (including spin-outs of the University) to major international companies, improving their products and processes and ultimately returning benefit to the UK taxpayer.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk