Dr James Hopgood from the University's Institute of Digital Communications in the School of Engineering has been awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Secondment.
This award enables Dr Hopgood to undertake a 12-month project with Agilent Technologies UK Ltd for the academic year 2015-2016. Dr Hopgood spends two days per week at the company to apply signal processing expertise in a life science application. The project is entitled "Novel Signal Processing Algorithms for Automated Electrophoresis Analysis".
The collaboration with Agilent started in September 2014, with funding through EPSRC's Impact Acceleration initiative, and has undertaken an initial investigation and feasibility study of several signal processing frameworks for improving the detection and estimation of the peaks observed in automated electrophoresis systems. Electrophoresis is a fundamental and ubiquitous technique from the separation sciences for separating individual macromolecules in biological samples, such as DNA, RNA, and proteins.
There is significant potential for simultaneously filtering the cassette and background noise while also estimating the peak positions, amplitudes, and peak-width from either single or multiple snapshots. Utilising Dr Hopgood's experience in advanced signal processing algorithms, it should therefore be possible to significantly improve the sensitivity of detection, and resolution of separation, of the biomolecules in electrophoresis systems.
The collaboration builds on James's work in model-based Bayesian signal processing techniques which he previously applied to audio signal processing in adverse acoustic environments. Further information about James's work can be found on his Edinburgh Research Explorer page.