Updated: Friday, 13th September 2019 @ 2:25pm

Manchester biologist wows politicians with ground-breaking 'portable labs' research in drive to support science

Manchester biologist wows politicians with ground-breaking 'portable labs' research in drive to support science

By Nafisah Atcha

A Manchester biologist wowed politicians in Parliament with science recently, as part of a drive to attract support for up-coming UK researchers.

Dr Kirsty Shaw, a forensic biologist at Manchester Metropolitan University, met MPs as part of a showcase of new and upcoming research in Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Engineering.

She presented her work on mini portable laboratories for forensic, archaeological and healthcare work in the field.

Known as ‘Labs-on-a-Chip’ the aim is to potentially save millions on expensive laboratory equipment as well producing quick results at the scene or site.

Dr Shaw said: “The use of mini portable labs in opening up all sorts of possibilities, for instance at crime scenes where blood samples can be used to help identify a person’s DNA.”

The study is the first to confirm the sex of ancient human bones at an archaeological dig using Labs-on-a-Chip’ technology. The ‘chips’ act as a miniature set of flasks and test tubes scaling multiple lab processes down to a hand held operation.

“We were able to determine the gender of the remains by testing powdered bone using a miniature DNA test on a small glass ‘chip’,” Dr Shaw said.

The study, completed alongside University of Manchester Archeologist Kerry Brown was selected out of dozens of thousands entries which MPs looked at.

Andrew Miller MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said: “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MP’s an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.”

“These early career scientists are the architects of our future ad SET for Britain is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”

Picture courtesy of MMU, with thanks.

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