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A new dawn for nano-science?

Published: 2nd April 2009

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SCIENTISTS at MMU are opening up an exciting world of nanotechnology and bio-computers to tackle the complex challenges of the future.

A new junction in science where nanotechnology, biology and computing converge, has the potential to fundamentally transform healthcare, agriculture and energy.

So-called 'nano-info-bio' science is widely predicted to lie at the heart of the next technological revolution, and a team from MMU has been awarded nearly £1/2 million to look at new ways to exploit it and drive it forward.

Dr Martyn Amos is lead researcher on the EPSRC project 'Bridging the Gaps: Nano-Info-Bio' and is a pioneer in the field of bio-computing.

Unique solutions

Martyn says: "Many of the challenges facing 21st century society will require solutions that transcend the traditional boundaries, say between mathematics and biology.

"MMU is ideally placed to take advantage of and contribute to these developments, as we have strong research groups in each of nanoscience, informatics and biosciences.

"This project will bring together those groups for the first time to focus on specific challenges, encourage new thinking and facilitate the types of serendipitous exchange that have provided breakthroughs throughout the history of scientific discovery."

Manchester Metropolitan is a UK national facility for multi-function nano-scale analysis of materials and is the only UK university with a £1 million SEM-Raman microscope which can work at the intersection of surfaces and biological entities.

Tissue engineering

One application is the construction of micro structures for bio-medical applications, such as tissue engineering.

Six MMU professors will be working on the research:

    • Professor Nicholas Bowring – Engineering & Technology
    • Professor Peter Kelly – Chemistry & Materials
    • Professor Joanna Verran – Biological Science
    • Professor Anthony Sargeant – Institute of Human Movement
    • Professor Derek Causon - Computing and Mathematics
    • Professor Valerie Edwards-Jones – Health Science.

£300,000 funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has been supplemented by an MMU grant of £150,000 to fund three PhD researchers.

Read more on the EPSRC research project for further information.

Image courtesy of Anatoli Melechko and Timothy McKnight.