Professor Rachel McKendry showcases research at the House of Commons, Westminster

Houses of Parliament

Professor Rachel McKendry from the London Centre for Nanotechnology and Division of Medicine at UCL was invited to represent EPSRC-funded research at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology event held at the House of Commons, Westminster.

The interactive exhibition, titled ‘The Science of Health and Well-being’ showcased the very latest scientific developments in collaboration with seven of the leading public sector bodies that fund research in the UK: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Arts and Humanities Research Council; Medical Research Council; Science and Technology Facilities Council; Natural Environment Research Council; Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council; and the Economic and Social Research Council.

Rachel was invited to represent the EPSRC, one of only 2 researchers, and presented her latest work on smart-phone connected diagnostic tests for infectious diseases. An EPSRC Grand Challenge grant ‘Multimarker Nanosensors for HIV’ programme led by Rachel has recently secured early stage translational funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme (www.i4i.nihr.ac.uk) with industry partners OJ-Bio, a Newcastle based SME. MPs and guests had a chance to see an early stage prototype smart-phone connected device based on surface acoustic wave biosensor technology developed by OJ-Bio and new capture coatings under development by UCL. Rachel also presented the major new £16M EPSRC Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration in Early Warning Sensing Systems for Infectious Diseases which aims to develop innovative mobile diagnostic tests and web-tracking technologies to help doctors identify outbreaks of serious infections – including new strains of influenza, antibiotic-resistant diseases and HIV - much earlier than ever before. The new IRC will bring together the collective strengths of UCL, Imperial College London, the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Newcastle University together with Public Health England and industry partners and will create a national resource for the UK.

Adam Afriyie MP, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, opened the event and Professor David Walker, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer from the Department of Health, spoke about the challenge of emerging infectious diseases, citing his own experiences working in infectious disease medicine, public health and clinical research. Professor Rick Rylance, the Chair of Research Councils UK closed the event.

Rachel said ‘It was a brilliant opportunity to share our research with MPs and a privilege to represent the EPSRC at this prestigious event."

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