Interdisciplinary blog

Complexity USRG – EPSRC Summer Bursaries 2014

July 10, 2014
by June Lovitt

June Lovitt – ‘Designing structured consortia for novel devices’

I have just completed my second year of Chemistry at the University of Southampton and will continue into my third year of a four-year Master of Chemistry programme after the summer. For my internship I am focusing on the area of complex systems, synthetic biology. My internship project is in collaboration with Professor George Attard. The field of research for this project is 3D microarchitecture.

This internship is focusing on developing 3D thixotropic gels and whether these can be exploited as a 3D growth matrix for bacteria. Thixotropic gels are attractive for the development of novel tissue-like devices as they flow freely when subject to sheer forces and set into rigid gels when not flowing. Gels with different compositions can also be fused together easily forming layers of different bacteria cultures. I have also been investigating the compositions needed for the medium to form a 3D thixotropic gel as well as culturing bacteria and designing minimal media for each. My next stage is to culture the bacteria in the minimal media and to investigate if this forms a gel.

The long term result of this project if it is successful is that the complex tissue like materials can be developed comprising of different species of bacteria organised on/interacting through 3D microarchitecture.

In my third year project I hope to continue with chemical biology.  By developing basic skills from culturing bacteria to developing gels and growth mediums and furthering my understanding of histoarchitecture, this will be very beneficial to my further studies within this field. I have also developed a good range of transferable analytical skills to other areas of practical chemistry.

This project is concerned with achieving preliminary results to support a funding bid to EPSRC and might represent the 1st step in developing a new technology.

Categories: Blog. Tags: complexity, complexity science, epsrc, george attard, idr, interdisciplinary, interdisciplinary research, june lovitt, real world contexts, research, University of Southampton, USRG, and vacation bursary.