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Nano-info-bio gets real!

Published: 22nd September 2010

A NEW inter-disciplinary project at Manchester Metropolitan University is already yielding important results in the fields of medicine, nanotechnology and the environment.

Nano-info-bio (NIB) is an emerging area in science where nanotechnology, biology and computing converge, and has the potential to fundamentally transform healthcare, agriculture and energy.

NIB 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 drive it forward.

The EPSRC-supported project was set up to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration within MMU, and around twelve projects are now well underway.

Among the first studies are:

- The use of nanoparticles in wound repair
- Gene nanotechnology in treatment of melanoma
- Design of novel nanodevices
- Water purification
- Prevention of pin tract infection
- Techniques for environmental sample analysis
- New computerised muscle analysis
- Image analysis of tooth plaque build-up

The project has also had its first national media story. See here for how the project is protecting archived film from bacteria.

Dr Martyn Amos, lead researcher on 'Bridging the Gaps: Nano-Info-Bio', and a pioneer in the field of bio-computing, said the fusion of biology, computing and nanotechnology would offer unique solutions.

"Many of the challenges facing 21st century society will require thinking that transcends 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.

New thinking

"This project encourages new thinking and facilitates 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 Micro Raman SEM microscope which can work at the intersection of surfaces and biological entities.

For more information on the project, please go here.

The project is supported by £300K from the EPSRC, and £150K from MMU, in the form of Ph.D. project studentships.