Project period: May to August 2015 

This community later received Accelerator Funding for the project: Developing a Novel Biological Imaging Technology for Biomedical Applications

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Christopher R Pudney (PI) 
University of Bristol: Adrian Mulholland 
Cardiff University: Rudolf Allemann 
University of Exeter: Christian Soeller 

Project overview

GW4 Bio-X exists to identify, frame and address the ‘unanswerable’ biological questions using ‘breaking’ and ‘in development’ methods, models and tools from the physical sciences. Our community is in place to make GW4 the national powerhouse in innovative, molecular bioscience and to develop novel capacity and capability. 


There are ‘big’ biological questions that we are not able to answer with current technology, approaches, methods or theory. Answering these fundamental, molecular level questions are what drives bottom-up innovation in health and biotechnology. Within the molecular biosciences, our level  ofenquiry is now at such a deep level, that many typical approaches we use are now woefully out of date and are incapable of the level of discrimination that is required to tackle ‘big’ questions. As a group, we recognise that in the 21st century breakthrough advances in understanding how the molecules of life interact, react and are controlled can only come from innovations from the physical sciences. 

Project summary 

This project aimed to find novel solutions from the physical sciences to tackle biological problems relating to biomedicine and healthy ageing. The funding was used to develop areas of research interest within the community under the umbrella of healthy ageing research. Two major strand that emerged were Biomarkers and Detection, and Imaging techniques. From this initiator community, the applicants (Pudney, Jones, Valev) developed a new spectroscopic approach that is able to accurately quantitate protein structure and flexibility and have now explored its use in an experimental system that can be monitored inside cells. The community received Accelerator Funding in 2016.