"The development of low toxicity cryoprotectants and cryopreservation techniques."

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: School of Life Sciences


Cells can be cooled to very low temperatures, halting their metabolism and allowing them to be stored indefinitely. However, this process results in a significant loss of viability and cell function due to freezing damage and cryoprotectant toxicity. This project will utilise a variety of techniques to minimise damage during the cryopreservation process. Intracellular ice formation is known to be highly lethal to cells. Developing effective cryoprotectants will be enhanced by an awareness of where ice is forming in a sample. As such, Raman microscopy will be used to image intracellular and extracellular ice formation during cell freezing. Traditional solvent cryoprotectants such as DMSO are damaging to cells and can cause adverse effects if those cells are transplanted into humans. A new non-toxic small molecular penetrating cryoprotectant will be synthesised and tested, with the aim of reducing the amount of solvent needed for cryopreservation. Raman microscopy will be used to map the intracellular presence of this cryoprotectant and determine its relationship to ice formation.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 30/09/2015 29/09/2023
2097326 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 30/09/2018 01/01/2023 Alexander Murray
Description Current methods to bank red blood cells typically use glycerol (40 wt %) as a cryoprotective agent. Although highly effective, the deglycerolization process, post-thaw, is time-consuming, and patients may die before the process is complete. I have developed a cryoprotectant solution which mitigates this issue. It would be used to store an emergency supply of blood which can be rapidly transfused into the patient.
Exploitation Route Usage by the military for operations in remote areas, or circumstances where obtaining a fresh supply of blood is difficult.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Healthcare

Description iCASE partnership with Cytiva 
Organisation Cytiva
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Confidential
Collaborator Contribution Confidential
Impact Confidential
Start Year 2018