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Home » Life sciences » Biophotonics research uses light-based technologies to drive innovation in the life sciences sector

Dr Liam Lewis

CAPPA Technology Gateway Manager

Dr Tim Yeomans

Shannon ABC Technology Gateway Manager

By harnessing the power of light-based technologies, research teams aim to revolutionise the life sciences sector and deliver innovative solutions across industries.

At Munster Technological University (MTU), a pioneering research entity merges biological science and photonics into biophotonics to drive transformative scientific exploration. This collaboration, funded by the Technological University Transformation Fund, combines the expertise of MTU’s Centre for Advanced Photonics and Process Analysis (CAPPA) and Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre (Shannon ABC).

In-situ bacterial growth measurement utilising biophotonics

Accurately assessing bacterial growth is vital for various biological research projects. Traditional measurement methods can disrupt the bacteria’s environment and hinder their development.

To overcome this challenge, researchers employ light-based sensors for non-invasive and frequent in-situ measurements. By adopting this approach, they can assess bacterial growth without disturbing the organisms, while real-time updates are seamlessly transmitted to a dedicated app. This groundbreaking technology is the focus of a spin-out company within MTU.

Advancements in high-throughput screening

High-throughput screening (HTS) plays a crucial role in many scientific experiments involving a large sample size. Researchers are collaborating to pioneer an alternative to the standard 96-well plate reader system used in HTS.

Researchers employ light-based sensors for non-invasive and frequent in-situ measurements.

They have developed a novel method that combines light and multiple simultaneous measurements, significantly enhancing the speed and efficiency of HTS. This innovative approach, which minimises analysis time and resources, has the potential to revolutionise scientific experiments and propel advancements across various disciplines.

Unleashing the potential of bioresources

Bioresources, such as willow tree bark, hold valuable compounds with significant applications in various industries. Biophotonics researchers at MTU, in partnership with other entities, are involved in the BioWill project. They aim to develop a willow tree biorefinery and explore the measurement of salicin — an anti-inflammatory compound found in willow bark.

By utilising light-based technologies and specific wavelength illumination, they seek to measure salicin content directly and more efficiently. This approach can save time, reduce costs and enable willow tree growers to maximise the value of their crops by accurately assessing salicin content.

MTU’s collaborative research efforts in biophotonics promise to revolutionise biological research and drive innovation across industries. With advancements in in-situ bacterial growth measurement, HTS and the exploration of bioresources, among the exciting developments — researchers at MTU, Shannon ABC and CAPPA are focused on how to support Irish companies through this exciting initiative.

Main image provided by Shannon ABC
The Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Programme is co-financed by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the ERDF Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021-27 and the Northern & Western Regional Programme 2021-27.

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