Towards continuous real-time acetylcholine esterase (AChE) monitoring using wearable sensors

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Bioengineering


This project is an ESPRC iCASE award between the research groups of Prof Martyn Boutelle, Imperial College London, Dept of Bioengineering and Dr Sarah Goodchild, DSTL Porton Down.

Toxic agents, such as organophosphorus compounds, are increasingly being used in chemical warfare. The toxic agents of interest are those that inhibit AChE, preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine (ACh) which is a neurotransmitter that causes muscles to contract. Exposure to these toxic agents can be lethal, however there is currently no known approved method to detect these agents in a casualty and determine their level of exposure. This is particularly a problem for low levels of exposure, where symptoms are not as severe and obvious. This project aims to solve the problem of detection of low level exposure to specific toxic agents that could affect both civilians and first responder personnel. This will be done by developing a biosensor which will involve electrochemical sensors and microfluidic technologies. Combining this with wireless electronics will allow novel real-time measurement devices to be developed.

The aim of this iCASE award with DSTL Porton Down is to develop a wearable analysis device to detect in real-time low level exposure to toxic nerve agents. The device will use a novel microfluidic electrochemical assay system to continuously assess the level of exposure before the onset of symptoms. It will be designed to protect first responders from the various emergency services.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S513635/1 30/09/2018 29/09/2023
2520106 Studentship EP/S513635/1 28/09/2018 28/12/2022 Georgia Kate Smith