School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Dr Marloes Peeters

Senior Lecturer

Background

I graduated from Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands) with a degree in Chemistry & Chemical Engineering. For my PhD, I moved to research institute IMO/IMOMEC in Belgium where I was part of the BIOSensors group of Prof Wagner. After finishing my PhD, I continued as a postdoctoral researcher within the same group to develop a novel thermal detection method for measurements of both small molecules and proteins in complex matrices (for instance, human blood plasma or saliva). Since 2014 I am in the UK when I started as a postdoctoral researcher within the organic chemistry group at Queen Mary University of London, where my project focused on the electrochemical detection of enzyme catalysis. My independent research career commenced at Manchester Metropolitan in 2015, and I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2018. In 2019, I was appointed as Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University where I will continue to work in the area of biosensors and bioelectronics.  My research group focuses on development of novel sensor platforms, including synthesis of high affinity nanoparticles/polymers and use of thermal sensing strategies.

Research

My group is interested in developing new biosensing platforms for the detection of a wide variety of biomolecules, ranging from small molecules, to proteins, and even to large cells.

We focus on two specific areas:

  1. design of synthetic receptors for biomolecules of interest
  2. thermal detection methods to measure these biomolecules in biological samples

In terms of designing synthetic receptors, I have worked on polymeric receptors (Molecularly Imprinted Polymers) and DNA sensors (aptamers). With MIPs, the main focus has been on neurotransmitters, such as histamine, L-nicotine, serotonin, dopamine, and recent work on noradrenaline. In an ongoing project, this will be extended to cells and bacteria. DNA sensors were employed to detect peanut proteins, which is used for allergen screening in food samples.

My group has done extensive work on the use of the heat-transfer method (HTM) to detect neurotransmitters and proteins. Recently, collaborating with Maastricht Science Programme, a novel thermal detection method was reported.  This method, which we call thermal wave transport analysis (TWTA), focuses on the transport of thermal waves rather than keeping the temperature at a fixed value. Advantages include faster measurement time (<3 min), more straightforward analysis and increased signal-to-noise ratio. By significantly reducing the noise, it becomes possible to measure in complex samples. 

Funding:

EPSRC:  New Investigator Award: EP/R029296/1: £205,000, Development of a polymer-based sensing platform for the detection of antimicrobial resistance. Funded 2 year PDRA (Dr Hudson) and PhD student Mr Oliver Jamieson.

Impact Accelerator Account - Ideas 2 Innovation (£25,500 in total), cardiac biomarker sensing (with Dr Novakovic as co-I) and SARS-COV-2 immunity sensor (with Dr Payne as co-I)

EPSRC CDT funded studentship - PhD student Mr Jack Reeder (co-I Dr Elizabeth Heidrich & Dr Matthew Unthank from Northumbria University), with contribution from Cambridge Medical Technologies for company related activities

Cambridge Medical Technologies:

contract research (9 months, PDRA Francesco Mecozzi), which provided proof-of-concept for cardiovascular biomarker detection leading to a 3-year KTP through Innovate UK of which I am appointed as a consultant.

NC3Rs : PI of CRACK IT grant (£49,910) for project together with MIP Diagnostics.

9 month project (Dr Crapnell) dedicated to the development of sensors for the thermal detection of cardiovascular biomarkers. More information can be found on: https://www.nc3rs.org.uk/new-sensor-platform-combining-plastic-antibodies-simple-thermal-detection-0

RSC: various bursaries, mobility grants, and research fund starting academics

Bursary from Materials Division for organization Bioinspired Materials Symposium, RSC bursaries  to attend IUPAC General Assembly and Conference in Brazil and for summer students (Analytical Trust 2017, 2018 and 2019).

RSC Research Fund ( RF18-2811, £3,500) for starting academics. RSC research mobility (£4,500) for Dr Peeters to visit to Prof Gruber  in Brazil.

RSC research mobility hosting Dr Patrick Seumo (£5,000 - grant number M19-7489)

British Council/Newton Fund: Newton Bhabha placement

£10k for hosting visiting Indian scholar Pankaj Singla (2018)

Wellcome Trust: COVID-19 portal, co-I Dr Brendan Payne


Public engagement activities:

Royal Society of Chemistry outreach fund August 2020: £2,000 for "Microbes, the good, the bad, and the ugly" with Dr Crapnell at Manchester Metropolitan University

NC3Rs public engagement award (£1,000) for joint activity with Maastricht University

Royal Society: participation in Royal Society pairing scheme 2017, a funded week in Westminster, Dr Peeters was paired with civil servant Ben Rayner, senior policy advisor at the DEFRA.


Patents on new sensor platforms:

UK Patent application No.1906710.7, M. Peeters

K. Eersels, M. Peeters, A. Ethirajan, B. van Grinsven, W. De Ceuninck, P. Wagner,
European patent EP.13157264.6, 2014, Heat-transfer resistance based analysis of
bioparticles.

K. Eersels, M. Peeters, A. Ethirajan, B. van Grinsven, W. De Ceuninck, P. Wagner, US
patent 2014242605 A1, 2014, Heat-transfer resistance based analysis of
bioparticles.

M. Peeters, B. van Grinsven, W. De Ceuninck, P. Wagner, European patent
EP.14199245.3, 2014, Heat-transfer detection of proteins.

Publications