The centre's molecular biology lab
The Centre for Marine Microsystems is engaged in the following research projects.
The RMST project aims to produce a new generation of micro-fluidic devices to measure chemistry and microbiology in the world's oceans and in related environmental and industrial areas. Chemistry (nitrate, nitrite, phosphate and ammonia) is measured using miniaturised systems built around lab-on-chip (LOC) principles, with miniaturised method of fluid routing, mixing, and optical detection.
Small single celled organisms (Phytoplankton) are speciated using a microfluidic cytometer, which counts and measures their biophysical properties (fluorescence, and size). This is performed by integrating miniature integrated optical and electrical elements into a LOC system.
The Oceans 2025 theme 8 programme "4D biogeochemical sensors" programme is developing a portfollio of sensing systems for metrology of ocean water. This includes generic reagent-based lab-on-a-chip systems currently configured for measurement of pH, Alkalinity, Iron, Manganese, and Silicate which could be extended to other chemical species for which colorimetric or fluorometric protocols exist. Other sensors in development include optical sensors for pH and methane, ultraminiaturised electrochemical sensors for metrology of dissolved Oxygen, in situ spectrophotometers, and ultra-miniature microfabricated conductivity probes.
The Labonfoil project focuses on the development of a hand held point of care diagnostic devices for health and environment. The research is part of a major European project with partners across Europe. Our objective is to develop an analytical microdevice which detects specific marine organisms using Nucleic Acid Sequence-Based Amplification (NASBA), which is implemented on a LOC. The marine species we are targeting cause harmful algal blooms and facilitate carbon sequestration in the ocean.