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Dr Jonathan James West BSc, PhD, MRSC, FHEA

Lecturer in Biomedical Microfluidics

Dr Jonathan James West's photo

Dr Jonathan West is a Lecturer in Biomedical Microfluidics within Medicine at the University of Southampton. His research focusses on the development of microfluidic technologies for cellular and molecular analytics. 

Discovery-driven engineering: I develop microfluidic methods for gaining new insights into biological systems

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 Tyndall National Institute (formerly NMRC), University College Cork. In 2003, his interest in technology commercialisation led him to the Institute for Nanotechnology Exploitation. Jonathan then moved to ISAS, Dortmund in 2006 to work with Prof. Andreas Manz, pioneer of the micro Total Analysis Systems/Lab on a Chip field. In 2010 Jonathan was promoted to Junior Group Leader with independent research focussed on the development of organ-on-a-chip technologies and microfluidics for dynamic cell biology. In 2012 Jonathan joined the University of Southampton with the goal to extend biomedical science by implementing and innovating microfluidic technologies.


Appointments Held

Research interests

Research in my lab focusses on the development of high throughput microfluidic approaches for cell and molecular handling. My microfluidic toolkit ever evolves, with droplet, inertial and compartmentalised microfluidic platforms currently being the core technologies in my lab. Allied with these, an open instrumentation approach is used to provide microfluidic workstations in the labs of collaborators. My overall approach involves the development of analytical pipelines coupling the microfluidic processors with state of the art cytometry, imaging, RNA-Seq, mass spectrometry and beam line techniques to deliver high quality data sets enabling new insights into biological systems.

Research Areas

Platelet Diversity


The lab has a keen interest in understanding the nature and consequences of platelet functional diversity. Using a droplet microfluidics strategy we can measure intrinsic platelet behaviour. Broad-continuum sensitivity was identified, with hypersensitive platelets able to drive heterotypic system polarisation. Current research aims at characterising platelet dynamics and transcriptome remodelling in response to stimulation to pin-point sub-populations governing thrombosis.

Single Cell Transcriptomics

Single Cell Transcriptomics

We have implemented DropSeq microfluidics in the labs of collaborators to address many biomedical questions. We are also innovating the microfluidic and molecular toolkit: An open source perpetual sedimentation system has been developed for reliable bead delivery and coupled with Dean entrainment microfluidics for efficient single cell analysis. Working with Andres Vallejo and Marta Polak we have also invented a targeted RNA-Seq method called Constellation-Seq which delivers 3 orders of magnitude gains in sensitivity to characterise cellular systems with unprecedented resolution. In collaboration with GSK, the technique is being applied to high dimensionality drug screening.


Image of brain patterns

The lab has a long-term interest in the reconstruction of minimalistic neuronal networks using a microfluidic compartmentalisation approach. Working with Katrin Deinhardt, the technology has been applied to pathogenic tau transmission and long-range BDNF signalling. To recapitulate directional connectivity within the brain we have also developed neurodiodes which orientate the synaptic junction using asymmetric geometries to allow mechanisms underpinning nanomaterial transport between neurons to be investigated.

Protein Crystallography

Protein Crystallisation

The emergence of serial crystallography brings many exciting possibilities for structural biology but also brings the challenge of preparing many thousands of sub-micron crystals. To address this, we are working with Ivo Tews to develop high throughput droplet microfluidic systems. Here volumetric confinement of the phase diagram defines growth limits for producing monodisperse protein crystals. Beyond this, the microfluidic processors can be interfaced with the beam line to enable dynamic structural biology.

Research group

Cancer Sciences

Jonathan provides the link between medicine and microfluidics. He is a member of the organising committee (chair 2016 and 2022) of the NanoBioTech conference held each year in Montreux, Switzerland and the global conference microTAS. Jonathan also serves as an Academic Integrity Office, is a tutor for medical students and mentor for staff in the School of Biological Sciences.

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Book Chapters

Creative Media and Artefacts


Working Paper

Jonathan is Module Coordinator and Lecturer for MEDI6226: Human Biology and Systems Physiology, an MSc module providing the foundations for understanding biomedicine to the next generation of biomedical engineers. He supervises MSc research projects (Regenerative Medicine, Biomedical Engineering and Natural Sciences), Group Design Projects for the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, as well as 3rd year medical student projects. Jonathan is engaged in outreach activities, including Southampton's Pint of Science ("the shape of (small) water") and "LightTouch" a collaboration between embroidery and stained glass artists exploring concepts in microfluidics, biology and medicine.

Dr Jonathan James West
Centre for Hybrid Biodevices, Life Sciences Building (B85), Highfield Campus

Room Number : 85/2111

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