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Bio-Electrical Engineering Innovation Hub

Bio-Electrical Engineering Innovation Hub

Bioelectricity @ Warwick

Despite the early works of Luigi Galvani in the 18th century, the experimental inquiry into the biological systems has never fully taken an electrical viewpoint. Galvani’s, and subsequently Alessandro Volta’s, studies led to the discovery of the electrical battery and the birth of electrochemistry, but the biological thread have been largely neglected outside of neurosciences.

At Warwick, we have taken on this neglected thread and have identified biological electricity as a key research direction. In particular, we believe that electrical forces, and the ability to control them, are fundamental in organising living systems across the scales (see publications). To better understand these forces and develop means to measure and control them, we undertake an interdisciplinary approach that brings together expertise from biology, physics, engineering, and chemistry.

Our research in this area is currently conducted through several collaborative PhD and postdoctoral projects. In addition, we have recently launched a Bio Electrical Engineering (BEE) Innovation Hub with funds from a BBSRC Innovation Accelarator Award provided to the University of Warwick.

Current membership (and interest areas) in the Warwick BioElectricity group include; Munehiro AsallyLink opens in a new window (electrical patterns in cellular organisation), Orkun SoyerLink opens in a new window Link opens in a new window (electrical interfaces to cells), Murray GrantLink opens in a new window (electrical signals in plants), Pat UnwinLink opens in a new window (electrobiochemical measurements), Marco PolinLink opens in a new window (electrotaxis), Rob CrossLink opens in a new window (sub-cellular electrical fields), Stefan BonLink opens in a new window (electrical stimuli in colloidal biomaterials) and Jerome CharmetLink opens in a new window (microfluidics, organs on a chip).

BBSRC 2019

BEE Innovation Hub

The Bio-Electrical Engineering (BEE) Innovation hub was established in May 2018 with funding from a BBSRC Innovation Accelerator Award to the University of Warwick. The Hub implements a structured approach to innovation, where a unique team of academics were brought together to form an innovator club. The members of this club held weekly brainstorming for 3 months to develop short research proposals for scientific implementation (over a 1/1.5 year duration), and application-oriented development (over another 1/1.5 year period).

The activities of the innovator club, including proposal development and implementation, are supported by an advisory board that includes academics, technical and managerial industrialists, funding body representatives, and investors. The club members also underwent tailored entrepreneurial training, and continue to work closely with Warwick Ventures for direction on market research and analysis around the chosen projects.

We will showcase BEE Hub activities and projects as they develop. In particular, we will hold events open by invitation to individuals and institutions coming from different sectors of industry, funding landscape, academic research, investment, and regulatory and social spheres. If you would like to be part of our BEE Forum and receive invitations to these events please contact us.

BEE Hub Innovator Club: Munehiro Asally (SLS), Murray Grant (SLS), Gabriel Meloni (Chem), Orkun Soyer (SLS), Pat Unwin (Chem), Christian Zerfass (Former member, SLS) and Stefan Bon (Chem).

BEE Hub Advisory Board: Emre Ozer (Arm), Jeremy Shears (Shell), Jim Goodchild (Syngenta), Colin Miles (BBSRC), Teuta Pilizota (Uni of Edinburgh) and Holly Smith (Green Biologics).


BEE Workshops:
  1. BBRSC BEE ShowcaseLink opens in a new window, 24-25 April 2023, brought together innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors working in the field of Bio-Electrical Engineering (BEE) for networking and knowledge exchange and to direct the development of future funding opportunities.
  2. Talks from the BEE 2019 workshopLink opens in a new window on 'Electrical Cell Biology'.
  3. Talks from the BEE 2018 workshopLink opens in a new window.
Latest BEE Publications:
  • Membrane Targeted Azobenzene Drives Optical Modulation of Bacterial Membrane Potential by T. C. de Souza-Guerreiro, G. Bondelli, I. Grobas, S. Donini, V. Sesti, C. Bertarelli, G. Lanzani, M. Asally, G. M. Paternò, in Adv. Sci., 2205007 (2023).

  • Electrotaxis behavior of droplets composed of aqueous Belousov-Zhabotinsky solutions suspended in oil phase by O. Back, M. Asally, Z. Wang, Y. Hayashi, in Sci. Rep. 13, 1340 (2023).

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