The University of Sheffield - UK

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The University of Sheffield (informally Sheffield University) is a public research university in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. It received its royal charter in 1905 as successor to the University College of Sheffield, which was established in 1897 by the merger of Sheffield Medical School (founded in 1828), Firth College (1879) and Sheffield Technical School (1884).

Sheffield is a multi-campus university predominantly over two campus areas: The Western Bank and the St George's. The university is organized into five academic faculties composed of multiple departments. It had 20,005 undergraduate and 8,710 postgraduate students in 2016/17. The annual income of the institution for 2016–17 was £623.6 million of which £155.9 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £633.0 million. Sheffield ranks among the top 10 of UK universities for research grant funding.

Sheffield was placed 75th worldwide according to QS World University Rankings and 106th worldwide according to Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It was ranked 12th in the UK amongst multi-faculty institutions for the quality (GPA) of its research and for its Research Power in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. In 2011, Sheffield was named 'University of the Year' in the Times Higher Education awards. The Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2014 ranked the University of Sheffield 1st for student experience, social life, university facilities and accommodation, among other categories.

It is one of the original red brick universities, a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, the Worldwide Universities Network, the N8 Group of the eight most research intensive universities in Northern England and the White Rose University Consortium. There are eight Nobel laureates affiliated with Sheffield and six of them are the alumni or former long-term staffs of the university.

The Faculty of Engineering at USFD is one of the biggest and best engineering faculties in the UK. It has a research-related income of more than €60M per annum from government, industry and charity sources. It is placed equal joint first, with Imperial College in engineering research incomes among UK universities, confirming its status as a premier centre in the world for engineering research.

Description the partner’s main task in IN-FET

USFD will lead WP4 on electrochemical actuation and sensing of ions in this project. This will include design, deposition of devices, electrodes, surface functionalisation and optimisation for neuronal cultures, actuation and characterisation of sensors and ionic concentrations using electrochemistry. USFD will also work with IUNET to support the model development.

Description of CV of main staff involved in IN-FET

Prof. Maria Merlyne De Souza (Female) received her PhD in Electrical Engineering in 1994 from the University of Cambridge. She was appointed Professor of Electronics and Materials in De Montfort University in 2003, and Professor of Microelectronics at the University of Sheffield in 2007. She was partner in the Energy to Smart Grid-E2SG (2012-2015), which won the EU-ECSEL Innovation Award in 2015. She has served as committee member of IEEE-IEDM between 2012-2017, IEEE-IRPS (2003-2013) and ESSREF, ESSDERC 2018. She is member of the scientific committee of the IRT Nanoelectronic council of France (2017-2020), reviewer of the €2.4B Helmholtz Centre Julich, Germany in 2017, member of the IEEE awards committee for Cledo-Brunetti (17-18), nominator for the Kyoto Prize in Electronics in 2017. She is a registered STEM ambassador and IEEE stem officer for UK (17-19), member of IEEE education committee of the EDS society ‘18-19, Region 8 SRC Vice Chair (18-19). She has over 200 articles and presentations in journals & peer reviewed conferences in multidisciplinary areas involving materials, devices and their electronic applications. She has reported pioneering contributions to solid-electrolyte ionic ZnO/Tantalum oxide thin film transistors, examined via electrochemistry, with considerable potential for neuromorphic computing and energy applications. Her team have used PEDOT:PSS in the context of solar cells in project E2SG. Her team are currently working on electrochemically actuated e-coli sensors in collaboration with NASA.

Prof. John Haycock (male) holds a Chair in Bioengineering and is Director of Research and Innovation for the Faculty of Engineering at Sheffield University. He joined the university in 2001 as a lecturer and since this time has been awarded grants from the EPSRC, BBSRC, RCUK, TSB/Innovate UK, MRC, from industry and the EC (including a £3.5M NEURIMP programme for nerve regeneration and a £4.06M Doctoral training centre on Polymers and soft matter). He is an expert on neuronal growth on polymer scaffolds and processes for medical device and cell therapy approaches for repairing nerve injury, plus 3D in vitro models of nerve and skin. He also has a particular interest in biological imaging and led two BBSRC awards to establish the multi-photon imaging facility in the Kroto Research Institute and thereafter pioneered the biological applications of TREM with colleagues in Oxford, Durham and Sheffield. He is a Core member of BBSRC Panel C and has previously held external panel appointments with the Academy of Finland and Canada Foundation for Innovation. He has graduated 23 PhD students who have taken up senior positions in academia, industry and the civil service and examined over 50 PhD students. He has published > 120 peer reviewed papers (3200 citations) across a wide range of physical-life science journals including PNAS, Nature Protocols, Advanced Materials, Angewandte Chemie, Chemical Science and has edited two books on 3D cell culture technology.

Dr. Claire Garwood (female) obtained her MSc Neuroscience University of Nottingham in 2004 and a PhD on “The neuroprotective effects of the antibiotic minocycline mediated by astrocytes in models of Alzheimer’s disease” from the MRC Centre for Neurodegeneration Research, Kings College London. She has been a postdoc at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience, University of Sheffield between 2011-2015 on the Impairment of insulin-signaling pathways on astrocytes in brain ageing and the progression of Alzheimer-type pathology. She is currently an Alzheimer’s Society funded research fellow since 2015 investigating the role of astrocytes in ageing and Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis. She has extensive experience of using primary cultures of murine and human astrocytes to study signaling pathways and the impact of insult or injury on these pathways. She published numerous research articles on the role of astrocytes in the disease process (H-index =14) and is currently developing a 3D cell culture system using polymers and primary cells to develop more physiologically relevant cell culture models of the disease.

List of previous projects and activities related to IN-FET

  • 2017: Integration technology for a current sensor and inductor De Souza (PI) (electrodeposition technique)
  • 2016: Clean water with urbanisation (Graphene based sensors for e-coli with electrochemical actuation), De Souza (PI)
  • 2015-12: Energy to Smart Grid. (PEDOT:PSS used as contacts for solar cells) De Souza (PI)
  • 2015-2018: Dinuclear ruthenium light-switches as multi-output sub-cellular imaging probes within live cells and tissues. Haycock (Co-I).
  • 2014-2022: Centre for Doctoral Training in Polymers, Soft Matter and Colloids, Haycock (Co-I).
  • 2013-2016: NEURIMP - Novel combination of biopolymers and manufacturing technologies for production of a peripheral nerve implant containing an internal aligned channels array. Haycock (PI).

Description of Infrastructure relevant for IN-FET

The EEE department, University of Sheffield, has been home to the III-V National centre for over 3 decades and has state-of-the-art facilities consisting of 1200 m2 of class 100 clean room for device fabrication. Device fabrication and packaging facilities include Kurt Lesker sputterer, Inductively coupled plasma etcher, Raith e-beam lithography, evaporators, spectroscopic ellipsometers, Karl Suss MJB3 UV3 mask aligner, rapid thermal annealing, glove box, DEKTAK, e-beam evaporator, rapid thermal annealing, die bonder and wire-bonder. Electrical characterization facilities include Agilent B1500, semi-automatic probe station, curve tracers, temperature controllers, low temperature probe and a potentiostat. Facilities for physical characterization such as TEM, SEM and Raman are available inhouse. Software tools available include Synopsis, Silvaco, ANSYS workbench and mentor graphics IC station.

The Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the UoS is a world-leading research department that fosters inter-disciplinary research and is a major partner of the £250M UK Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials. Two new buildings are due to open in 2018 and 2019 for support across a breadth of low (TRL1-3) and medium (TRL 4-6) research with a focus on Advanced Manufacturing and Biomedical Materials. JH is the Sheffield lead for the biomedical materials and has commissioned a light sheet microscope and in vivo confocal microscope as part of this initiative. JH’s lab further houses tissue culture laboratories, two confocal-multiphoton inverted and upright parallel microscopes, protein and RNA analysis facilities and several evaluative biological methods for physical science - life science interfacial research projects (e.g. ELISA, Western blotting), with location and use in the same department of 14 scanning and transmission electron microscopes (though the Sorby Centre for Electron Microscopy).

The Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience, (SITRAN) is a “state of the art” research centre with a collaborative, multi-disciplinary environment with expertise in basic neuroscience, clinical neurology, neuropathology, computational biology, and clinical trials methodology. The institute houses the Sheffield Microarray and Next Generation Sequencing Core Facility, a Drug Discovery suite, laboratories which specialize in RNA and molecular biology and a number of tissue culture facilities.

List of publications

  • Naseer Iqbal , Abdul Samad Khan, Anila Asif, Muhammad Yar, John W. Haycock & Ihtesham Ur Rehman “Recent concepts in biodegradable polymers for tissue engineering paradigms: a critical review”, International Materials Reviews, DOI: 10.1080/09506608.2018.146094
  • Christopher Tse, Whitely R, Tong Y, Stringer J, MacNeil S, Haycock JW, Smith P “Inkjet printing Schwann cells and neuronal analogue NG108-15 cells”, Biofabrication 8 015017 (2016)
  • Christopher Tse, Ng S, Stringer J, MacNeil S, Haycock JW, Smith P “Utilising Inkjet Printed Paraffin Wax for Cell Patterning Applications”, International Journal of Bioprinting, 2016, 2 (1), pp. 35 – 44
  • A. P. Hopper et al “Photochemically modified diamond-like carbon surfaces for neural interfaces” Materials Science and Engineering C 58 (2016) 1199–1206
  • P. B. Pillai, A. Kumar, X. Song, M. M. De Souza, “Diffusion controlled Faradaic charge storage in high performance solid electrolyte gated Zinc Oxide thin film transistors”, ACS Materials and Interfaces, 10 (11), pp 9782–9791 (2018).
  • P.B. Pillai and M. M. De Souza “Nanoionics Based three terminal synaptic device using ZnO”, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 9 (2), pp 1609–1618 (2017).
  • Garwood C.J, Ratcliffe L.E.*, Morgan S.V., Simpson J.E., Owens H, Vazquez-Villaseñor I, Heath P.R., Romero I.A., Ince P.G., Wharton S.B. Insulin and IGF-1 signaling pathways in human astrocytes in vitro and in vivo; characterisation, subcellular localisation and modulation of the receptors. Molecular Brain 22;8:51 (2015)

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