The Diagnostics research platform aims to engineer paper-based diagnostics for health, environment and food safety applications and to maintain the bioactivity of biomolecules immobilised on a paper surface. A successful outcome from this research area is papers that have been treated to cheaply identify blood type groups
Paper serves four functions in our diagnostics: to store the biomolecules or reactant; to transport by capillarity the sample to analyse; to react and separate products; and to display and permanently store results. Paper is cheap, ubiquitous, easy to engineer, disposable and compatible with many biomolecules. Combined with functional printing and roll-to-roll conversion technology, paper offers an efficient, cheap and flexible material/technology from which to manufacture paper diagnostic devices.
We can print micro-fluidic systems, enzymes, antibodies and reacting systems on paper or flexible film. The Diagnostics team have successfully designed a series of paper diagnostics to identify blood type groups and to phenotype blood and identify antigens and antibodies. Further research in this area will develop novel methods for blood testing.