Upcoming Events

6th - 8th October 2014, International Conference on Material Science and Engineering in San Antonio, USA. 
Please see attached International Conference for details.

Latest News for Centre for NanoHealth

Research - bowel cancer 30th July

Nanotechnology research could improve tests for bowel cancer

30th July 2014

 Tests for bowel cancer Bowel Cancer

A new research project could help improve diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer - the third most common cancer in the world - by looking at how nanotechnology could be used to screen patients, with a simple blood test replacing the current tests. 

The project, which has just been awarded £100,000 of funding by Cancer Research Wales, is led by Dean Harris, Honorary Professor in Swansea University’s College of Medicine, a colorectal consultant at ABMU health board.  He is working with Professor Peter Dunstan at Swansea University’s Centre for NanoHealth (CNH), and a dedicated PhD research student funded by the project.

At CNH the research team will use nanotechnology, together with Raman spectroscopy, to detect cancer-related changes in patient samples. Advances made to the Raman technique will amplify the scattering of laser light from cells, chemicals and molecules, and create a unique ‘fingerprint’ that is predicted to be specific for colorectal cancer.

There is immense potential for patients to benefit from this research.  Screening for colorectal cancer would be more acceptable and accessible.  In time, the technique may help determine which types of chemotherapy will work for a particular patient, and recurrence could be detected earlier, transforming outcomes for this common cancer.

•Colorectal (bowel) cancer is the third commonest cancer worldwide. It remains a leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western World.

•Early diagnosis before symptoms develop, such as rectal bleeding or change in bowel habit, is vital for the best outcome.

•Current screening tests, such as colonoscopy or faecal blood detection kits, can be invasive, unpleasant and expensive.

Professor Dean Harris, project leader, who is honorary professor at the College of Medicine at Swansea University, and consultant colorectal surgeon at the city’s Singleton Hospital, said:

“I am delighted that Cancer Research Wales has chosen to fund this exciting collaboration between the Department of Colorectal Surgery and the Department of Physics through the Centre for NanoHealth at Swansea University. Our cutting edge project has the potential to change the way in which patients with bowel cancer are diagnosed, treated and followed up. We have attracted a very high calibre student for the project and look forward to sharing the results”.

Dr Lee Campbell, science projects and research communications manager at Cancer Research Wales, said:

“Early diagnosis is critical for the effective treatment of cancer. Cancer Research Wales is proud to work with Professor Harris, Professor Dunstan and the team at Swansea University who seek to develop new blood tests for potential use in the early detection of bowel cancer and the monitoring of treatment response in patients.

This pioneering project is very timely since early cancer diagnosis is a recognised priority area for cancer care in Wales and bowel cancer has recently become the most diagnosed cancer type”.


The Centre for NanoHealth (CNH) at Swansea University combines nanotechnology with medical science to provide opportunities to benefit patients, healthcare providers and the healthcare industry both across Wales and globally.  The CNH offers access to over 50 academic staff from the Colleges of Medicine, Engineering and Science, Health Board (NHS) clinicians, and industry.

Cancer Research Wales was founded in 1966 by Dr Ken Davies. Since then we have raised many millions of pounds for research into the treatment and diagnosis of cancer; which has benefited people in Wales and all over the world.

Our aim is to reduce the impact of cancer on the people of Wales, through supporting world class cancer research and education. At Cancer Research Wales, our priority is to fund research that will give hope to those affected by cancer, and their families. http://www.cancerresearchwales.co.uk

Sensors in Health- care June 2014


“Sensors in Healthcare”

Tuesday, 10th June 2014, Centre for NanoHealth, Swansea University

The Sensors in Healthcare event was held on the 10th June 2014 at the Centre for NanoHealth (CNH), Swansea University. The Centre for NanoHealth combines nanotechnology with medical science to provide opportunities to benefit patients, healthcare providers and the healthcare industry both across Wales and globally. The day was organised to be part of the Welsh Festival of Innovation which is designed to provide the opportunity to view how Wales is at the forefront of enabling technologies which underpin key industry sectors.

After a brief introduction from Bruce McLelland from the Knowledge Transfer Network on the activities of the KTN and the Welsh Festival of Innovation, the first session kicked off the day with talks on the support available for Welsh developers working in the sensors and healthcare markets. Prof Steve Conlan, one of the Directors of the CNH overviewed the work of the Centre, its capabilities and its priorities. Simon Cooper from the Welsh Government detailed how the Welsh Government is equipped to support companies and what mechanisms are available. The first session was closed by Elaine Evans from the Technology Strategy Board on what support is available nationally through the Biomedical Catalyst and other relevant calls.

The second session offered an industry perspective on the latest advances within the healthcare sector. Chris Meadows from IQE Plc spoke on their vision to form a semiconductor technology cluster in Wales to build upon the existing capabilities and develop new capabilities. Robin Pittson from The Gwent Group gave an enlightening talk on the trends in electrochemical sensor materials and what niche and emerging markets may offer a lucrative opportunity in the future for biosensors. Nadeem Rizvi from Laser Micromachining Ltd demonstrated the usefulness of laser micromachining in medicine from microfluidics to microfilters.

The finals session of talks featured presentations from prominent academics at the CNH, Swansea University in the field of sensors and their latest developments. Dr Vincent Teng discussed how nano engineered micro needles could be used as painless sensors. Dr Owen Guy gave an overview of his work in semiconductor devices for point of care diagnostics. Dr Davide Deganello discussed the challenges and opportunities around printable biosensors and functional devices and the strength of the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating. The final talk of the day was from Dr Paul Lewis who described how Fourier-transformed infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) can be applied to a patients sputum to detect for chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) and how progress in miniturisation of these devices can take the equipment from benchtop to hand held devices for bedside monitoring.

The Sensors in Healthcare event provided ample opportunity for valuable networking to take place; academics, industrialist and Government bodies talking and finding out what is being done in this area and what can be done. This networking time was set alongside a poster competition in which the organisers were invited to judge the best for which there was a prize donated by the Gwent Group. The prize for the winning poster was awarded to Zari Tehrani on her graphene biosensor technology for detecting cancer risk biomarkers work which offered a fascinating glimpse into how the “wonder material” graphene can be made into sensors healthcare purposes.

To view all speaker biographies and presentations, please visit https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/biosensing/article-view/-/blogs/sensors-in-medicine-10th-june-2014?p_p_auth=0jbFhaK5&_33_redirect=https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/biosensing/articles?p_p_id=101_INSTANCE_okNCIW6dT09i&p_p_lifecycle=0&p_p_state=normal&p_p_mode=view&p_p_col_id=column-1&p_p_col_count=1&_101_INSTANCE_okNCIW6dT09i_currentURL=%2Fweb%2Fbiosensing%2Farticles&_101_INSTANCE_okNCIW6dT09i_portletAjaxable=1


Research Findings June 2014

Swansea research findings may help the fight against cancer - Pathways hold hope of drug to block the paths of cancer genes June 2014

A major piece of Swansea University-led research led by Professor Steven Conlan and Dr Deyarina Gonzalez from the University’s Centre for NanoHealth and College of Medicine, has unravelled a complex molecular mechanism controlling the regulation of genes.

The research has been published in top ranked journal “The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science” of the United States of America, better known as PNAS. The work, which was funded in part by a Cancer Research UK grant to Professor Conlan, has unravelled a complex biochemical mechanism involving ‘Mediator’ a ‘molecular switchboard’ found in organisms from yeast to man.


Made up of over 20 proteins, Mediator is an evolutionary conserved large multisubunit protein complex involved in gene regulation which is structurally conserved between species with a central role in regulating RNA polymerase II– transcribed genes.

It serves as a ‘molecular switchboard’ by bridging the general transcription machinery and function-specific DNA binding proteins and playing a dynamic role in regulating a wide range of processes, involving, for example, thyroid and vitamin D receptors. The role of Mediator appears to be in the fine tuning of the activation and repression of gene expression in many organisms, yet the underlying mechanisms of how its own function is regulated remains to be unravelled.‌Made up of over 20 proteins, Mediator is an evolutionary conserved large multisubunit protein complex involved in gene regulation which is structurally conserved between species with a central role in regulating RNA polymerase II– transcribed genes.

The Swansea team have found one of the ways the ‘switchboard’ can turn off its own function and therefore shut down the expression of genes. This study demonstrates how a cascade of molecular events enables Mediator components to dynamically regulate the function of the Mediator complex, and in turn to control large sets of genes.

Put simply, now that the team understand the molecular mechanism controlling the regulation of genes and have found out the very distinctive steps along the pathway, they can focus on whether they can develop a drug that can target or “block” the steps in the mechanism they have uncovered, which may ultimately lead to the prevention of further development of cancer in patients.

The work was undertaken in collaboration with groups at the University Medical Centre in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Germany.

Professor Steve Conlan said: “We are still in the very early stages of this research, but these findings are an encouraging start and open the way for developing targeted interventions (or drugs) to control gene expression in human diseases. “In particular, Dr Gonzalez and I, together with our colleague Dr Lewis Francis, located with the Centre for NanoHealth and who co-leads Reproductive Biology and Gynaecological Oncology research, will now take these findings and apply them to our research into endometrial (uterine) and ovarian cancer, which will have the ultimate aim of preventing the further development of cancer in patients.”

Rheology accolade May 2014

Swansea University Rheology expert receives accolade at British Society of Rheology and Institute of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics International Conference
19th May 2014

Rheology Accolade

Rheology expert Dr Nafiseh Badiei, from Swansea University’s Centre for NanoHealth received an accolade for a poster on her work involving blood rheology at the recent Institute of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics Conference on Rheometry and General Rheology.

The award for best poster is presented annually by the British Society of Rheology. Each poster is judged by two leading international expert rheologists. This year the judges were Prof. R Buscall and Prof. H-M Laun.

The competition is fierce but Dr Nafiseh Badiei was awarded the runner-up prize after an exceptionally close contest with the winner from the Leeds Rheology group.

Commenting on her success Dr Badiei said: “ I am very pleased to receive such recognition and encouragement. The competition for this award is always very strong and I would like to thank all colleagues at Swansea who work with me on rheology of biological materials. It really is a team effort.”

The Centre for NanoHealth has specific interests in biomedical applications of rheology including its potential use as a tool for disease screening and therapeutic monitoring.

The Centre houses state-of-the-art rheometrical equipment including two ARES-G2 controlled strain rheometers (TA instruments, UK) and four AR-G2 controlled stress rheometers (TA instruments, UK).

Rheology is the science of flow and deformation of materials. The rheological properties e.g. viscosity, are of pivotal importance in the manufacturing or processing of many materials including inks, foodstuffs, oils, slurries, gels and in determining the consistency of a final product. For example, the perception of the texture of foods arises from the interaction between the rheology of the food product and movement in the mouth – a final product must not be too thin, or too thick, in order to satisfy the consumer.

The rheological properties of biological materials such as human blood are of great significance. Differences in blood rheology can signify the onset of cardiovascular disease.

The Centre also has successful collaborations, which have led to funded research projects, with several local Small and Medium Enterprises working in the biomedical, water treatment and food sectors. The combination of CNH (in Vitro) and BRU (Hospital based) facilities enables companies to access the best equipment and expertise in Rheology research.

To find out more, please visit www.swansea.ac.uk/nanohealth/researchareas/rheologyflow