Current Projects


MINERVA (Mid- to Near- Infrared Spectroscopy for Improved Medical Diagnostics)

The MINERVA project will take advantage of breakthroughs in photonics technology to develop a new mid-IR device and methods for the early diagnosis of diseases such as cancer. 


A Subcutaneous Raman Needle Probe for Real-time Molecular Spectroscopy of Lymphoid Tissues

A National Institute for Health Research ‘i4i’ Innovation Programme Project. A collaborative project with University of Exeter and University of Bristol.

The project will undertake research into the development of novel fibre optic Raman probes for use in vivo for the rapid diagnosis of lymphomas. The probes will be made to pass through a needle to make real-time measurements of disease specific tissue composition using near-infrared Raman spectroscopy on ex vivo tissues. This will involve some optical modelling; development and manufacture of optimum designs; spectral measurement of clinical samples; and development and testing of multivariate diagnostic algorithms to discriminate disease conditions using the probes.   


Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and Raman Spectroscopy for the Advanced Diagnosis of Lymphomas 

Robert Dalton Research Fellowship, LiNC funded (PhD project)

Fullwood (LiNC funded PhD student), Dr Gill Rouse (LINC Director) and Dr Rosie Dalton

Leanne Fullwood (LiNC funded PhD student), Dr Gill Rouse (LINC Director) and Dr Rosie Dalton

Lymphomas are cancers of the lymphatic system. They will usually present with an unknown lump, particularly in the neck, groin or armpit regions. To provide a definitive diagnosis they will usually require surgical removal to enable the standard pathology analysis to be performed. Histopathological results can delay treatments by days or weeks. In 2007 there were 11,861 cases and 4,533 deaths from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in the UK (5-year survival 50%). In 2006, 1,611 people in the UK were diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Hodgkin's lymphoma caused 311 deaths in the UK in 2007 (CRUK). Our research team has demonstrated feasibility of Raman discrimination of diseased and healthy lymph nodes using microscope based systems (Axillary, mediastinal, head and neck). Furthermore we have developed fibre Raman probes (early prototypes) able to measure tissue signals in short timescales. This project would develop novel spectroscopic approaches to enable rapid measurement of disease specific molecular signals from lymphoid tissues. This maybe near patient or in vivo; having a dramatic impact on surgical procedures and minimising the need for unnecessary surgical clearance of nodes and the associated risks. There is a strong clinical support network established to support the work of a high calibre scientist to establish themselves in this important area for novel clinical diagnostics.

The Robert Dalton Research Fellowship has been established to support the development of novel methods to diagnose and monitor haematological malignancies. This will jointly support a PhD studentship with the University of Exeter to explore the clinical application of vibrational spectroscopy techniques to discriminate between healthy and diseased blood samples for rapid near patient diagnostics.

Find more out about this and other research taking place in heamatology at GRH here. 


Vibrational Spectroscopy in the Management of Vulval Skin Conditions

Vulval skin disorders are common and the diagnosis of these conditions can be difficult.  Reliable discrimination between benign vulval skin conditions, precancerous conditions or vulval cancer often requires tissue biopsies.  In addition the monitoring of patients with vulval disease at risk cancerous change is currently limited to visual assessment often supplemented by multiple invasive tissue biopsies. There are currently no established non invasive tests available for the diagnosis of vulval skin diseases.

The vibrational spectroscopic techniques of Raman spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy are non invasive diagnostic tools that use the interaction of light within tissues to identify the chemical composition of different tissues.  The use of these tools may reduce the need for invasive biopsies to diagnose and monitor women with vulval skin disease.

The aim of this project is to explore the use of vibrational spectroscopic techniques in the diagnosis of vulval skin disease.  This will be achieved by performing vibrational spectroscopy on samples of tissue taken from women with vulval skin disease treated at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.  The results of the spectroscopy will be compared with the routine tests and the accuracy of spectroscopy determined.

The study is funded by the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Research and Innovation Forum and the British Society for the Study of Vulval Disease.  


SMART: Stratified Medicine through Advanced Raman Technologies Project in collaboration with Renishaw, UCL, and Exeter University.

The potential for Raman spectroscopy to provide early and improved specificity of diagnosis on a wide range of unprocessed tissue and biopsy samples and also in situ is well documented. SMART will build on existing technology to provide Pathology with an automated, fast and simple to use tool to improve diagnostic rates, specificity of diagnosis and early detection. Compatibility with digital pathology will be endured enabling highly complementary Raman chemical imaging data to supplement existing gold standard techniques (FFPE and snap frozen tissue sections in parallel with existing gold standard IHC and H&E staining techniques).