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Dr Tanya Hutter

Dr Tanya Hutter

‘Development of new chemical sensor technologies and biomedical devices’

Dr Tanya Hutter, University of Cambridge

Head injury is the largest single cause of death for those aged under 40 years in the developed world. Survivors experience varying disabilities that are often lifelong, with consequent demands on carers and resources. After injury, complex, dynamic changes occur in the brain’s physiology and chemistry. Monitoring and managing these dynamic events can vastly improve patient outcome. Currently, pressure and oxygen levels in the brain are monitored continuously with real time analyses, and the chemical analysis of several important molecules is performed using a technique called microdialysis. This technique is labour and time intensive for medical staff to use. It is also expensive to purchase and maintain. The aim of my research is to develop a real time brain chemistry online sensor for use in critical care of acute brain trauma patients. The method is based on optical measurement of molecules within nanostructures in a microfluidic channel. Development of such sensor will result in better clinical outcome and save time and money, as well as enable wider deployment in critical care units, in adult and paediatric patients. There are even wider applications for such a sensor technology in the chemical industry, oil and gas and environmental monitoring.

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