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Research group

Microfluidics and Sensors

Two fingers wearing globes holding a microchip

Microfluidics is the interdisciplinary study of the behaviour, manipulation and application of fluid at the microscale. It underpins the concept of the lab-on-a-chip, where multiple key components and operations are integrated onto one small platform.



This is an important underlying technology with applications across a diverse range of fields including medicine, chemistry and oceanic research. 

Scientists across the Institute of Life Sciences have been driving microfluidics research and application forward for more than two decades. With a translational approach many of our fundamental science discoveries have resulted in novel micro-engineered devices which have paved the way for how patients are treated in hospital.  

Our research teams span fields from engineering and physics to medicine and biology and are carrying out research into areas such as single cell analysis, organ-on-a-chip, neuroscience, clinical diagnostics, personalised medicine and environmental monitoring. Our scientists use microfluidic devices and systems to find solutions to some of today’s biggest challenges including antimicrobial resistance and ocean climate changes. 

As well as using microfluidics to provide engineering solutions for biological and healthcare applications our scientists are also training the next generation of microfluidics experts. Our postgraduate students work alongside international leaders in their field, shaping and developing research projects as well as conducting their own research investigations. 

Staff and students alike also have access to cutting-edge facilities which contain state of the art analytical equipment, dedicated cell and tissue culture laboratory and rapid prototyping clean rooms. 

People, projects and publications


Dr Collin Sones

Principal Research Fellow

Professor Hywel Morgan MBE

Professor of Bioelectronics

Accepting applications from PhD students

Dr Jonathan West

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • 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.

Accepting applications from PhD students

Professor Marcel Utz

Professorial Fellow-Research

Research interests

  • Integration of microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology with NMR spectroscopy and imaging;
  • Behaviour of complex materials.

Professor Martyn Hill

Professor of Electromechanical Systems

Dr Matthew Rose-Zerilli BSc (Hons), PhD

Lecturer in Integrative Cancer Biology

Research interests

  • Cancer prevention
  • Innate immunity
  • Tumour microenvironment

Accepting applications from PhD students

Professor Paul Elkington

Director of Inst. for Medical Innovation

Research interests

  • tuberculosis
  • immunopathology
  • diagnosis

Accepting applications from PhD students

Professor Xize Niu

Professor of Biosensing&Microengineering

Accepting applications from PhD students

Professor Xunli Zhang PhD, DIC, FRSC, CChem, CEng

Head of Department-Chemical Engineerg

Research interests

  • Xunli’s key expertise lies in the area of microfluidics technology from design and fabrication of microfluidic devices, through the development of in-situ monitoring methods for bio/chemical processes, to microfluidic modelling, microsystems integration and automation. The application is largely associated with biomedical challenges like patient specific design of microfluidic devices for cancer treatment, rapid diagnosis, and tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The continuous flow reactors have been used for the synthesis of a range of nanoparticles, both organic and inorganic, for application in drug delivery and energy saving. The technologies developed in his research have also found great potential for industrial applications through a variety of industrial collaborations. 

Accepting applications from PhD students

Professor Ying Cheong

Professor of Reproductive Medicine
Interdisciplinary research teams collaborate across engineering technologies with applications in medicine, biology and environment to create novel and disruptive research activity in areas including diagnostics, infectious diseases and water testing.
Professor of Bioelectronics

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