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Medicine

Dr Jonathan James West B.Sc., Ph.D., MRSC

Institute for Life Science Research Fellow

Dr Jonathan James West's photo

Dr Jonathan West is an Institute for Life Science Research Fellow within Medicine at the University of Southampton, developing microfluidic single cell analysis methods.

I’m fascinated by microfluidics, a means to manipulate single cells with extraordinary spatial and temporal precision. At Southampton I’m developing innovative microfluidic platforms to address key questions in biomedicine.

Jonathan has a five-year Institute for Life Sciences Research Fellowship to establish his research activity on Microfluidic Single Cell Analytics. This involves developing microfluidic platforms to investigate medically-relevant cellular systems. The challenges associated with each application inform our understanding of microfluidic particle transport and drive the development of innovative solutions.

Jonathan has a multi-disciplinary background, starting with a BSc in Medical Microbiology from the University of Edinburgh, before taking up the challenge of a PhD (“Microsystems for Genetic Diagnostics”) at the National Microelectronics Research Centre, University College Cork. In 2003, his interest in technology commercialisation led him to INEX, the Institute for Nanotechnology Exploitation. Equipped with this industrial experience, Jonathan then moved to ISAS in Dortmund, to work with Prof. Andreas Manz, who pioneered the micro Total Analysis System/Lab on a Chip field. In 2008 Jonathan established his independent Life Sciences research activity within the Miniaturisation Group and was promoted to Junior Group leader in 2010. His research group focussed on the development of organ on a chip technologies and microfluidic single cell analytics. In 2012 Jonathan was appointed as an Institute for Life Science research lecturer at the University of Southampton, to bridge the Hybrid Biodevices and Medicine research activities.

Qualifications and Fellowships

Appointments Held

Research interests

Microfluidics Single Cell Analytics

Jonathan leads a multidisciplinary team developing innovative microfluidic platforms to analyse cellular systems. As microfluidic dimensions approach the length scale of a single cell, flow becomes laminar and manipulations become deterministic to enable exquisite spatial and temporal control. This quality can be used to provide superior assay resolution to address previously intractable questions in cell biology. Beyond this, array methodologies or continuous flow operation can deliver the throughput necessary for large scale screens to survey the variety within cell populations.

Research Projects

High-Speed Cell Processing

The interface between the cell surface and its microenvironment represents the communication front for signal transduction, information processing and the emergent behaviour of the biological system. A high-speed inertial microfluidic processor has been developed to resolve ligand-mediated signal transduction mechanisms. Working in collaboration with Prof. Donna Davies, the microfluidic technology is being combined with cytometry routines to investigate EGFR activation dynamics.

Cancer Immunology

The tumour microenvironment has a highly heterogeneous cellular composition that produces a complex pattern of cell-cell interactions that critically regulate tumour development. In collaboration with GSK and Profs Mark Cragg and Ben MacArthur, a single cell coupling platform is being developed to analyse large numbers of immune-tumour cell interactions and will be used to predict and modulate the efficacy of immunotherapies for a wide range of cancers.

Single Platelet Function Testing

Platelets are sub-cellular homeostatic control agents that act as dispersed sentinels for the co-ordinated identification and repair of vascular injury. Imbalance in this tightly regulated system can, on the one hand, lead to excessive bleeding or, on the other, lead to thrombi formation and the risk of stroke or heart attacks. In collaboration with Assoc. Profs Nicola Englyst and Ben MacArthur this project involves the application of high throughput microfluidic techniques to investigate the functional capacity of single platelets and provide a systems-level understanding of the clotting process.

Probing Neuronal Circuits

Material trafficking within neuronal circuits underlies a variety of diseases. The recent prion hypothesis of neurodegenerative diseases poses that protein aggregates found for example in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases may also propagate in this way. In collaboration with Dr Katrin Deinhardt, this research involves the use of compartmentalised analysis platforms for the preparation of well-defined neuronal circuits. These minimalistic ex vivo constructs will be used to unravel the mechanisms involved in the propagation of hyperphosphorylated tau and long-range BDNF signalling.

 

Research group

Cancer Sciences

Affiliate research group

Hybrid Biodevices (IfLS)

Supervision

  • “Time Machines: Temporally resolved EGFR signal transduction mechanics”. Lead supervisor, collaborating with Prof. Donna Davies and Dr Ben MacArthur, of Marios Stavrou on the Time Machines project. Funded by a Tom West Analytical Fellowship, and an IfLS and DTA-funded PhD studentship.
  • “Free-Flow: Surveying single platelet functionality”. Lead supervisor, collaborating with Nicola Englyst and Dr Ben MacArthur, of Maaike ‘Sybil’ Jongen on the Free-Flow project. Funded by a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant and the British Heart Foundation.
  • “NeuroTraffic: Material Propagation in Neuronal Circuits”. Co-supervisor with Dr Katrin Deinhardt of Prutha Patel and Grace Hallinan on the NeuroTraffic project. Funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK, Gerald Kerkut Trust, CfBS and Vice Chancellor’s PhD Studentships.
  • “Tumour Dialogues”: A collaborative project with Prof. Mark Cragg and Dr Ben MacArthur, funded by an FoM Enterprise Pump Priming award and a CRUK Interdisciplinary pilot project award.

Teaching

Jonathan serves as a tutor and facilitator on the undergraduate (BM5) and postgraduate (BM4) Bachelor of Medicine courses in the Faculty of Medicine.

Event Organisation

Member of the NanoBioTech Montreux organising committee. NBT is Europe’s premier conference for micro- and nanotechnologies for the Life Sciences.

Organiser of the IfLS ‘Microfluidics for Biology’ poster and networking sessions.

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Dr Jonathan James West
Faculty of Medicine University of Southampton Building 85 Life Sciences Building Highfield Campus Southampton SO171BJ

Room Number: 85/2111

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