Institute of Bio-Sensing Technology

IBST is an initiative of UWE, Bristol


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IBST is a member of Medilink South West, the region’s life science industry network.


IBST is a member of the Health & Life Sciences Sector Group.

Our purpose is to engage with local life sciences, health and social care organisations to explore areas that could be developed to promote the health and life sciences business sector in the West of England LEP region.

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Paramagnetic particle-based detection system

MagnetometerThis technology uses paramagnetic particles (PMPs) to detect biological interactions between two complementary binding partners such as antibodies and antigens (analytes) in an immunoassay.

This is a biosensor that can provide measurement of analyte concentration within a test sample in just few minutes. In this system, the test samples and PMP labels are added to a reaction vessel in the biosensor and are attracted to a reaction surface at the base of the vessel, using a magnet where specific binding takes place. Unlike other immunoassay systems no extra washing or processing procedures are required. The bound particles, and associated antigen are detected using a coil under the surface of the biosensor.

The use of paramagnetic particles as a label in an immunoassay has resulted in the development of a rapid and highly sensitive biosensing device. Substances in the part-per-trillion concentration range have been measured. The novel instrumentation is inexpensive and can be powered by standard, small batteries to be used as a handheld system for field testing.

This is a platform technology and has a wide range of applications in areas such as point of care diagnostics, environmental testing, bio-security and food quality.

Examples of projects

A number of projects have been funded to develop the technology for different applications to meet specific needs for companies. For example:

Diagnostic markers

Includes a range of projects to detect biomarkers of disease such as cardiac or cancer markers. There is also a project for the raid detection of bacteria such as clostridium difficile.

Environmental testing

Government funded projects, for explosive residue in the environment enable a highly sensitive and rapid assay to be developed. 

Food safety and quality

A number of projects in this sector have focused on the rapid detection of bacteria in food materials.

Find out more

Lead researchers
Prof Richard Luxton Professor Richard Luxton
Assay and application development
  Prof Janice Kiely Professor Janice Kiely
Electronic engineering

For more information about the paramagnetic particle-based detection system, please contact us.