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Personal profile

Research interests

With my research team and collaborators, I am interested in three core areas that focus on the interface between chemistry and biology and in the teaching of analytical chemistry.

My research has been focused on the development of tools and resources that can study biological signalling molecules that play key roles in influencing the central nervous system and periphery. My work has focused on the development of novel sensor devices that can monitor key transmitters of which serotonin has been a primary focus. Such sensor devices offer advantages over other analytical approaches and biochemical measures, as they can study signalling in real-time from live cells/tissues. We have utilised our electrode devices to understand how transmitters change with age in the central nervous system, in an invertebrate animal model and in the enteric nervous system. We have also developed novel devices that can be interfaced with biological tissues and therefore provide the means to simultaneously monitor signalling mechanisms and function. Using such approaches, we have been able to provide insight into the role of mucosal signalling molecules in the bowel in regulating key functions such as motility and ion transport.

Another area that we have applied our approaches to is in the monitoring of various therapeutic drugs that are utilised in the treatment of sick babies. At present pharmaceutical drugs are regulated as manufactured, but often require dilution on the ward to obtain a suitable dose for the baby. This diluted drug is not as well regulated and little is known about its stability in various ward conditions. Our work focused on monitoring of drug concentrations to understand how these changes might impact the development of baby.

Finally, we have been interested in enhancing the student learning experience and providing educational activities that can be utilised to enhance student employability. We have developed novel learning and teaching approaches using electronic technologies that have had impact in the classroom and are being developed for the laboratory classes. We have also developed the Analyst Laboratory Challenge which is a teaching activity based on the BBC hit show the Apprentice with leading chromatography manufacture Phenomenex. Alongside these activities, we have developed student engagement activities such as the PABS outreach programme and the Press group, which provide students with the opportunity to develop interpersonal skills.

Scholarly biography

I graduated with a BSc(Hons) in Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences at the University of Brighton in 2002, which sparked my interest in analytical chemistry and its application in measurement in biology. From this I moved to Imperial College London to undertake a PhD in the field of Bioengineering under the guidance of Dr Danny O’Hare. My work focused on understand the changes in signalling during ageing from an individual neuron from the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis. This project exposed me to the challenges of working on the interface between engineering and life sciences and the opportunity to work with Dr Mark Yeoman, who is still a mentor and friend and more recently a collaborator on various research projects.

Shortly after my PhD, I was fortunate to win an EPSRC Overseas LifeSciences Interface fellowship to focus on the development of analytical devices to study the formation of synapses between neurons. Most of the fellowship had to be conducted outside the UK and I was fortunate to spend approximately two years in the laboratories of Professor Greg Swain (Michigan State University, USA), Professor Mark Wightman (University of North Carolina, USA) and Professor Naweed Syed (University of Calgary, Canada). It was during my stay at these leading research institutes that I was exposed to the challenges of measurement within the digestive tract and began collaborations with Professor James Galligan (Michigan State University) and Professor Keith Sharkey (University of Calgary).

I joined the University of Brighton as a Lecturer in 2010 and moved up the ranks to the position of Reader in 2015. During my time at the university I have been supported by over £1.5 million pounds of funding from EPSRC and BBSRC. At present I am acting as the school lead for enterprise and social partnership and in 2017 will be acting as the enterprise champion for the department of research, enterprise and social partnership, which is an exciting role in providing a user experience of partnerships with non-HEI partners.

Approach to teaching

I teach on a wide range of courses including BSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical & Chemical Sciences, BSc (Hons) and MChem Chemistry and MPharm Pharmacy. I also teach on postgraduate degrees and am acting as the placement tutor for chemistry based degrees.

My teaching is predominately focused on analytical chemistry, leaning toward approaches in measurement of chemical entities in biological environments and the regulatory considerations required for approval of a new pharmaceutical drug.

When teaching I use blended learning approaches which focus on utilising a range of electronic learning resources and face-to-face workshops that apply the theory. This approach provides the scope for flexible learning and provides significant opportunities for active participation.

My learning approaches have been shown to make significant impact on student learning as I was awarded the Student Union Excellence Award for Innovative teaching in 2015 and the Excellence in Facilitating/Empowering Learning Award in 2012.

Education/Academic qualification


1 Oct 200230 Jun 2005

Bachelor, University of Brighton

1 Oct 199820 Jun 2002


  • QD Chemistry
  • Electrochemical
  • Bioanalytical Chemistry
  • Biosensors
  • QP Physiology
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Serotonin
  • GI Tract
  • Mucosal Signalling

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Projects 2018 2019

Extracellular Vesicle Profiling for early detection of leukaemic progression

Carter, D., Patel, B., Psaila, B., Turner, N. & Zhu, T.


Project: Grant

Research Output 2004 2019

Poly(lactic) acid/carbon nanotube composite microneedle arrays for dermal biosensing

Skaria, E., Patel, B., Flint, M. & Ng, K. W., 14 Mar 2019

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3D printable conductive materials for the fabrication of electrochemical sensors: A mini review

Bin Hamzah, H., Shafiee, S. A., Abdalla, A. & Patel, B., 13 Sep 2018, 96, p. 27-31 5 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Conductive materials
Electrochemical sensors
3D printers

Alterations in melatonin and serotonin signalling in the colonic mucosa of mice with dextran-sodium sulfate-induced colitis

MacEachern, S. J., Keenan, C. M., Papakonstantinou, E., Sharkey, K. A. & Patel, B., 25 Mar 2018, 175, 9, p. 1535-1547

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Dextran Sulfate
Mucous Membrane
Biomedical Technology Assessment
Drug Prescriptions
Immunologic Factors
Ulcerative Colitis

Changes in murine anorectum signaling across the life course

Fidalgo, S., Patel, B., Ranson, R., Saffrey, J. & Yeoman, M., 30 Jul 2018, 30, 10, p. 13426-13438 13 p., e13426.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Fecal Impaction
Cholinergic Agents
Nitric Oxide