Contact: Dr Tanya Hutter, Department of Haematology
Mentor: Karin Schmitt

Using her background in optical sensors, Dr Hutter has developed a new type of blood sensor, based on microfluidic chips and optical measurement techniques.

Blood tests to look at the number of red blood cells and assess if a patient is anaemic are performed regularly in modern healthcare systems. Current tests are usually done in a central lab with automated systems, or are very low-tech. For example, the NHS blood donation service still measures the rate of descent of a drop of blood in copper sulphate solution as a quick test for anemia, a test that has been used from the World War II.

The vision is to produce a low-cost, easy-to-use system which can be used at point-of-care to provide an immediate measurement of the patient’s blood, and removing the need for transportation to a central lab. The microfluidic chips will be single-use and disposable.

The challenge for the i-Team is to investigate the range of possible uses for this device, including the possibility of using it for very different cell types such as brewers yeast, and also to look at the best markets and routes to market for a point-of-care medical device.