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Food and Fermentation (FAMISHED Project)

'Nature wastes nothing...'

The principle goal of this work is to initiate strong, long-term collaborative activities between the Warwick Medical School, the School of Engineering and the University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire (UHCW). Recent networking events between the School of Engineering, WMS and UHCW have identified an opportunity to bring together complementary expertise to look at a new scientific area with broad applications within the bio-medical domain. The aim of this project is to initiate these joint activities based on the strengths within Engineering, WMS and UHCW - creating a new network of collaborations.

Our expertise is in smell – specifically artificial olfaction (so called electronic noses). These instruments work on a similar principle to the human nose, identifying smells by their ‘aroma’ instead of identifying all the chemical components. E-noses could meet existing and emerging healthcare needs. The potential impact could be in three areas:

  • Such instruments could provide key information, allowing clinicians to rapidly diagnose and treat patients.
  • Rapid clinical diagnosis; reducing stress (from waiting for results) and monitoring response to therapies.
  • E-noses have a relatively low unit cost and a very low running cost.

Our long term vision is to develop a new generation of non-invasive, rapid, portable instruments that will detect a broad spectrum of ailments. Here we request funds to apply and evaluate this technology (developed at Warwick) applied to a medical disorders, specifically the detection of digestive and metabolic disorders from the olfactory signature. We have chosen this area due to the inability of modern medical lab-based techniques to identify these diseases sufficiently early. Secondly, this is an area of expertise within WMS and UHCW and links with other respected experts in the field. Thus we hope to install equipment within the WMS & UHCW to perform a feasibility study to inform the possibilities of artificial olfaction, developing methodologies and informing future projects based on the way technology is used/how it can benefit the NHS.

Related Projects 

Clinical Sciences Research Institute

University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire