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Royal Academy of Engineering awards for two Strathclyde researchers

Two researchers at the University of Strathclyde have received prestigious awards from the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng).

Professor Paul Hoskisson, of Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, will take up an RAEng Chair and Dr Michael Strain, a Reader in the Institute of Photonics in Strathclyde’s Department of Physics, has been awarded a Senior Research Fellowship by the Academy.

Professor Hoskisson will be exploring process for accelerating the development of new antibiotics and Dr Strain will be developing 3D-printing capability for nano- and micro-scale devices on a single chip.

Their awards have been announced as part of a series of chairs and fellowships which RAEng awards annually.

Academy President, and Principal of the University of Strathclyde, Professor Sir Jim McDonald, said: ”I am delighted to see Paul and Michael receiving these highly prestigious awards. Prior to becoming President, I was Chair of the Academy’s Research Committee and I saw first hand the competitive nature of such Award Schemes with only the very best attracting support for work that would bear comparison with leading activities internationally.

“I am sure these awards will serve both our colleagues well in enhancing their research ambitions as well as their personal academic reputations and those of their departments and Strathclyde at large.”

Professor Hoskisson’s Research Chair in the engineering biology of antibiotic production will apply engineering principles to improving the efficiency and sustainability of antibiotic producing cell factories. This will enable new antibiotics to be conceived at a much more rapid rate than has been previously possible.

His research will, over the next five years, develop genetic tools for antibiotic-producing Streptomyces bacteria. This will remove a major barrier to improving the bacterial cell factories that produce antibiotics and speed up the process of prototyping new bacterial strains. The research will be carried out in partnership with pharmaceutical company GSK.

Professor Paul Hoskisson

Professor Hoskisson said: “I am delighted and humbled to have been awarded this prestigious Research Chair in the Engineering biology of antibiotic production from the Royal Academy of Engineering. It will give me the opportunity to focus on research, further build my long-term collaboration with GSK and help to develop new ways of working in the antibiotic industry to help address the antimicrobial resistance crisis we are facing globally.”

Dr Strain’s research will be aimed at the miniaturisation of visible light optical systems onto a single chip. By integrating systems onto a chip, complexity can be significantly scaled up while improving mechanical robustness, power consumption and reducing production costs.

The long-term aim of the work is to take make optical systems in a format which can be integrated with portable, low power electronics, such as chip-scale spectrometers integrated onto mobile phone platforms for point-of-use diagnostic tools.

 Dr Michael Strain

Dr Strain said: “The most exciting element of this project for me is the ambition to take research advances out of the university lab and translate them into a capability that will benefit the industrial and academic engineering communities.

“Over the past few years, I have been working closely with Fraunhofer UK to produce a technology translation roadmap for the process methodologies and optical systems that my group have been developing. Fraunhofer has an excellent track record of supporting industrial partners to engage with new advances in engineering research and building integrated optical systems, making them the ideal partner for this project.”