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. 

Research projects:

EPSRC New Investigator Award EP/R029296/1 (PI, 2018-2020): Development of thermal sensors for the detection of antimicrobial resistance (PDRA Alexander Hudson and PhD student Oliver Jamieson)

KTP project Innovate UK (co-I, 2018-2022) with Cambridge Medical Technologies (3 year PDRA Kamrul Islam) and contract research (10 month PDRA Francesco Mecozzi),development of sensor platform for the detection of cardiac biomarkers.

NC3Rs (PI - 2019-2020): CRACK!IT grant with partner MIPDiagnostics, development of a sensor platform for the thermal detection of cardiac biomarkers (17 months PDRA Robert Crapnell)

RSC Early Career Fund for Starting Academics, RSC research mobility grant, and summer internships

British Council/Newton Fund: Newton Bhabha placement of Pankaj Singla (August-November 2018)

Patents on thermal detection:

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