01:11am Tuesday 15 October 2019

New sensor for diagnosis of infectious diseases in development

Professor Jon Cooper, Wolfson Chair of Bioengineering at the University, will work with colleagues at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to develop a new generation of portable devices capable of quickly and accurately determining the cause of an infection.

The device prototype developed by the team

Jon Cooper prototypeThe sensor, which exploits ultrasound and the mechanical energy it carries to actuate fluids and perform molecular diagnostic tests on a low-cost disposable platform, is being developed to help diagnosis of genital ulcer disease, which affects millions of people worldwide and greatly increases the risk of HIV infection.1 It could be used for a range of medical conditions including home kits for sexual health and GP-based tests for respiratory disease.

Professor Cooper said: “We’ve received almost £60,000 from NHS Greater and Glasgow and Clyde to benchmark this technology against existing methods already in use by doctors. 2 It’s the first step towards turning the results of research into a commercially-available product.

“The sensors we’re developing have a great deal of potential for delivering healthcare in the developed and developing world, as well as field testing for food standards, veterinary health and environmental biomarkers.”

Professor Cooper will be joined on the project by Dr Julien Reboud and Dr Rab Wilson of the Biomedical Research Division of the University’s School of Engineering, Dr Andrew Winter of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Sandyford Sexual Health service, and Dr Rory Gunson of the West of Scotland Specialist Virus Laboratory.

Dr Winter commented: “This is an exciting collaboration between bio-engineers, clinicians and molecular virologists to bring sensitive modern laboratory tests to the bedside. It has real potential to transform the way we diagnose sexually transmitted infections and other infectious disease, both here and abroad.” 

The project will begin in February 2013 and is expected to be complete by January 2014.



For more information contact Ross Barker in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 8593 or email ross.barker@glasgow.ac.uk


Notes for editors

1. Genital ulcer disease is usually caused by the infection herpes simplex 1 or 2, or Treponema pallidum (the cause of syphilis). The actual cause often remains undiagnosed, and in many parts of the world patients are treated ‘syndromically’ ie blindly treated for all likely causes. 

2. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde awarded £74,619 to Dr Winter as Chief Investigator from the NHS GG&C Partnerships endowment funds in 2012.

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