New research facility at the University of Surrey could soon unlock the secrets of diseases

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A new research facility at the University of Surrey could soon help society better understand various diseases or even help scientists trace nanoplastics through the bodies and cells of humans and animals.

Thanks to a £500,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation, Surrey will soon open the doors to its Centre of Excellence for Bioanalytical Science. Leading researchers will use a unique blend of high-end equipment - including ion beams. The Centre will develop new ways of measuring biomarkers that are unavailable anywhere else in the world.

Our new Centre will drive forward the next generation of technologies and biomarker measurements that are smarter, faster and environmentally friendly.

Our novel approach to measurement will enable new research aimed at combatting anti-microbial resistance, exploring the impact of nanoplastics on human and animal health, non-invasive patient sampling and rapid clinical diagnostics for humans and animals."

Professor Melanie Bailey, Centre Director, University of Surrey

Biomarkers are chemical signatures widely used in biology and medicine to monitor health and wellness, diagnose diseases earlier, and understand and treat diseases.

As well as enabling new research in science and medicine, the Centre will provide a specialist measurement service, train the next generation of scientists and offer an innovation hub for academic, industry, government, and NHS partners.

Professor Paul Townsend, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Surrey, said:

"Through our Centre, academics and industry will work together like never before. Our research will make a real impact by harnessing the power of AI-driven multi-omics and multi-modal imaging.

"We will transform how we treat and diagnose disease. We could develop non-invasive tests to check if someone has taken their medicine, or even help in forensics - we are asking big questions and are aiming to find big answers."

The Centre will make use of the Surrey Ion Beam Centre, an Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council national research facility. The Ion Beam Centre already supports £100 million in funding from 23 universities and industries.

It will develop new methodologies not available anywhere else internationally, including multi-modal ion beam analysis - which uses high and low energy beams to precisely locate individual molecules within a cell.

The Centre will work closely with Surrey's SEISMIC facility to use advanced technology to analyse individual cells and parts of cells. Research will incorporate artificial intelligence to maximise understanding and use of findings.

The Centre will be led by Professors Anthony Whetton, Melanie Bailey and Paul Townsend.

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