Dr Alex Dudgeon
I am a research fellow in the Biomedical Spectroscopy Team in the Biophysics Group working with Prof Nick Stone at The University of Exeter. My current work is on the Raman needle project which is seeking to diagnose lymphomas with a fibre-optic needle, with minimal invasivity.
I recently finished working on my PhD at Durham University, where I also graduated from with a BSc (Hons) and MSc in Chemistry. For my PhD thesis in Professor Colin Bain’s group, funded by Unilever and The EPSRC through a CASE award, I designed and built a total-internal reflection Raman spectrometer. This technique utilises the evanescent field produced during total-internal reflection to excite molecules close to the interface. Using the spectrometer, I investigated the adsorption of surfactants to the liquid-solid interface. The research focused on the kinetics of adsorption, obtaining isotherms and forming mono/bi-layers of various ionic and nonionic surfactants on surfaces including silica, polyester and zeolite. A major part of the project was the design and construction of the spectrometer, during which I developed the skills needed to design and manipulate optics to obtain good signal to noise levels.
Additionally in Professor Bain’s group, my research MSc investigated the processes by which water and surfactant solutions penetrate macroscopic, horizontal, hydrophilic glass capillaries. I also investigated capillaries made hydrophobic by silanisation. To record the penetration rate, the meniscus, illuminated by collimated laser light, was tracked using a high-speed camera. Theoretical models (The Lucas-Washburn model, a “Young” model and an overflowing-cylinder model) were compared with our experimental data and the models were shown to be unable to account for the observed penetration rates. Instead, we considered the additional dissipation in the wedge of liquid near the three-phase contact line.
Dr Benjamin Gardener
I am currently a research fellow in the Biomedical physics group working with Professor Nick Stone on the following EPSRC research grant: A Novel Deep Raman Spectroscopy Platform for Non-Invasive In-Vivo Diagnosis of Breast Cancer.
This project aims to develop Raman spectroscopy as a non-invasive method for the detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. This is important as the current methods for detecting breast cancer have a high false positive rate, resulting in unrequired biopsies, and preventable patient stress. The current approaches are also limited to older patients, leaving younger patients vulnerable. Raman spectroscopy has the potential to provide quick reliable and non-invasive platform to diagnose breast cancer.
Other research interests include developing the Deep Raman approaches for characterising and monitoring a materials physical properties such as temperature non-invasively with chemical specificity at depth within objects.
I am currently also a manager for the CEMPS early career researcher network ECRN.
Dr Adrian Ghita
Adrian has a primary interest in the development of Raman spectroscopy for biomedical applications, spanning from micro-Raman examinations of live cells and tissue sections in vitro, to transmission Raman spectroscopy on larger tissue samples. He is introducing various novel photonic techniques to the traditional instrumental design of Raman spectroscopy allowing further improvement and expansion of this technique to the new fields of biomedical applications. The potential of the new emerging methods can be harnessed for the interest of new in-vivo clinical applications such as breast cancer detection, which is Adrian's primary study disease.
Dr Jayakrupakar Nallala
Jayakrupakar Nallala graduated with a distinction in BSc-biotechnology from Osmania University, obtained MSc in biotechnology from Bharathidasan University and carried out initial research activities at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and the Advanced Center for Treatment Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC), Tata Memorial Center in India. His initial research activities involved DNA sequencing and genotyping of single nucleotide and repeat length polymorphisms in specific genes and their association with breast, and head and neck cancers.
Jayakrupakar obtained PhD from the Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, France during which the potentials of vibrational spectroscopy as a cancer diagnostic tool were demonstrated via the concepts of spectral histopathology and infrared spectral barcoding of colon tissue and tissue arrays.
His current research areas of interest are to exploit further the potentials of vibrational spectroscopy methods of infrared and Raman to detect the bio-molecular/bio-chemical changes in tissues and to diagnose molecular diseases especially cancer. To obtain a complete picture, Jayakrupakar intends to combine this technology with conventional clinical/pathological practices of histopathology, immunohistochemistry, etc. In the ongoing project ‘MINERVA’ funded by the European Union (FP7) (http://minerva-project.eu/) it is aimed to explore and implement the new generation infrared spectroscopic imaging technology being developed using new mid-infrared supercontinuum light sources, and new generation detectors for large scale pathology screening and to develop clinical applications of infrared spectral histopathology/cytology for improved cancer diagnostics.
Jayakrupakar is an Associate member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), an Honorary fellow at the Biophotonics Research Unit, Gloucestershire Royal Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom and was a recipient of the ‘Rambhau Kulkarni Young Scientist Award’ from the Indian Association for Cancer Research (IACR), 2008.