Rapid Diagnosis and Biomedical Research

Providing a clinically supported service for the rapid diagnosis and management of infectious and genetic disease.

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Research Activities

We specialise in the development and application of nucleic acid, immunochemical or biochemical based assays, and will undertake collaborative or contract research projects using these techniques in any area of human animal or plant pathogen scientific investigation. We can provide a complete and cost effective service, from initial project design to a presentation of the final report.

For a discussion of any potential research proposals please call us or e-mail Dr David Burnett (d.burnett@micropathology.com).

We collaborate in a variety of research programs with colleagues at universities and hospitals and number of academic research students and fellows undertake joint research projects with our company staff on a regular basis. We also have experience in performing diagnostic testing for clinical trials in compliance with the EU Clinical Trials Directive (2001/20/EC).

Examples of our recent and current research projects are listed below:

  1. Dr. D.Burnett, Dr. R.Calvez and Dr. S.Ball are collaborating with Dr. T. Barber, Dr. M.Weickert of the Medical School, University of Warwick and Prof. D.Ramsden, Medical School, University of Birmingham. The project is investigating the significance of salivary and pancreatic amylase gene copy number in metabolic diseases.

  2. Dr Marie A Voice,Dr Leo Calvo-Bado and Professor Colin Fink are collaborators in a multi-centre EU funded grant co-ordinated by Professor Mike Levin MBE (Imperial College and St Mary's Hospital Paediatrics, London). This PERFORM study is a large-scale EU 2020 funded multicentre study. The management of febrile patients is one of the most common and important problems facing healthcare providers. Distinction between bacterial infections and trivial viral infection on clinical grounds is unreliable, and as a result innumerable patients worldwide undergo hospitalization, invasive investigation and are treated with antibiotics for presumed bacterial infection when, in fact, they are suffering from self-resolving viral infection. We aim to improve diagnosis. This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 668303. http://www.perform2020.eu/

  3. Dr Elli Pinnock and now Dr Marie Voice and Professor Colin Fink collaborated in a multicentre EU grant looking at life-threatening diseases of childhood. The EUCLIDS project coordinated by Professor Mike Levin (Imperial College London) and our laboratory as one of the European collaborators has been involved in molecular diagnoses of children recruited to the study with serious invasive bacterial disease. We also utilised next-generation sequencing technology as part of an analysis of the relationship between a specific virulence factor in Neisseria meningitidis and its partner protein within the human host. EU grant agreement no 279185. http://www.euclids-project.eu/ The stored samples from this project are now enhancing the information which is being derived from the PERFORM project ( see above) .

  4. The company provides financial support and diagnostic expertise for Professor J Simon Kroll, Professor Sejal Saglani and Professor Andrew Bush (Imperial College Paediatrics and National Heart and Lung Institute) in a new study using the information gained from the study by Dr Elizabeth Powell (see below). This study will be looking at the impact of premature birth on the gastrointestinal microbiota in early infancy and respiratory health at school age: a comparison of premature and birth term infants.

  5. Dr Elizabeth Powell at Imperial College and St Mary's Hospital Department of Paediatrics, has been jointly supervised by Professor J Simon Kroll (Imperial College & St Mary's Hospital) and Professor Colin Fink (Micropathology Ltd and University of Warwick) in a project looking at the development of the microbiome (bacterial colonisation) in the new born and following these children for the first two years of life. This project is now being written up as a PhD thesis.

  6. Dr Sarah Ball and Dr Sian Davies of our laboratory have collaborated with Dr Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy (Lord Cranbrook) and Dr Wei Lim, Dr Vincent Siew and others on a project to chart the genetic changes taking place in the Far East swiftlet populations that produce edible nests. This is believed to be the first time that 'domestication' with hybridisation of wild type populations has been followed in detail for any animal population as selection for nest building in specially built nest buildings takes place. In the wild, these populations build nests in caves, but over harvesting has severely depleted the wild populations.

  7. Professor Colin Fink and Dr James Barnett have collaborated with Dr Leopold Georgi of the Technical University of Berlin and others in the EU in an EU H2020 PoC-ID Grant Agreement No 634415. The aim of the grant to show a proof of principle for the creation of sophisticated electronic near patient testing devices for the rapid diagnosis of infectious disease. The two organisms mooted to be used for the initial study are Respiratory Syncytial Virus in nasopharyngeal aspirates /swabs and Enterovirus in whole blood specimens.

  8. Micropathology Ltd staff ( Dr Leo Calvo bado, Dr Jennifer Holden, Dr Richard Fetherston and Miss Elli Phillips and Professor Colin Fink ) are collaborating and funding an investigation of Kawasaki disease (prevalence in the UK 5-8 /100,000 children) within our laboratory collaborating with Professor Mike Levin (Imperial College) and Professor Jane Burns (Santiago California USA) to try and find the causes of this disease which affects children between the ages of one year and five years and causes extensive inflammation and coronary artery damage leading to death or aneurysms if left untreated. At present the epidemiology of the disease shows that it is most prevalent in the Far East and moves seasonally across the globe. The cause of this disease is unknown. We are investigating a number of lines of enquiry concerning this enigmatic but serious illness.

  9. Our three intercalating BSc undergraduates are being supervised by our postdoctoral staff and involved in improved Enterovirus typing assay development, detection of macrolide resistance in Mycoplasma Genitalium infection, and novel methods of DNA extraction for improved diagnostic methods.