Year/Course: 2022-2023
Project type: Medical
Mentor: Robert Glen

Inventors: Dr. Farah Alimagham, Dr. Keri Carpenter & Dr. Tanya Hutter, Clinical Neurosciences


The brains of patients suffering from traumatic brain injury undergo rapid chemical changes in the first days following the initial trauma. Accurate and timely monitoring of these changes is important for improving patient outcomes. Conventionally this is done by collecting and manually transferring samples to a bedside analyser on an hourly basis.

As an improvement on the current labour-intensive approach, the inventors have developed sensor technology which uses mid-infrared spectroscopy to continuously monitor the brain chemistry of traumatic brain-injury patients. The sensor connects to the outlet of a microdialysis catheter (which is inserted into the brain) and the resulting dialysate is fed continuously, at a very slow flow-rate, into the sensor for continuous analysis of the chemical compounds that are present.

The sensor can currently measure the concentrations of glucose, lactate and pyruvate in the cerebral microdialysate and a second generation prototype device is now being tested.

The inventors have been running clinical studies in the Neurocritical Care Unit of Addenbrooke’s Hospital for the past few years to test it and understand how it actually performs in a clinical environment.

The question for the i-Team is to investigate whether this continuous sensing approach would have additional applications, and also to identify potential commercial partners to help the inventors take this forward into a completed medical device.