Photon Factory

Probing the biochemistry of prostate tissue with lasers

Supervisor

Dr Claude Aguergaray

Discipline

Photon Factory; Chemical Sciences

Project code: SCI026

Raman spectroscopy can provide powerful biochemical fingerprints of disease such as cancer. This project focuses on the development and optimization of a spectroscopy(Raman)-based biomedical photonic device for in vivo prostate cancer detection. 
Projects available include:
- Method development for bio-imaging analysis of prostate biopsies using the Horiba LabRam Evolution Raman Microscope and comparison of the measured spectra with custom-designed system.
- Data analysis for improved pre-processing of acquired data and co-registration of data between different analysis techniques; 
- Chemometric analysis to resolve key differences between healthy and unhealthy skin.

This project sits across multiple disciplines (Physics, Chemistry, Biophysics and Chemometrics). It involves lab work for data collection and development of our measurement protocols. It also involves more computer-based activities such as data processing and coding (Python or Matlab), and data analysis (chemometrics).

Beautiful Chemistry

Supervisor

Dr Michel Nieuwoudt
Dr Ruth Cink
Assoc Prof Erin Griffey
Prof Cather Simpson

Discipline

Photon Factory; Chemical Sciences

Project code: SCI027

Cosmetics have provided an arena for chemical experimentation for millennia. And while there is burgeoning interest for historians about the historical cosmetics, there is a surprising dearth of scientific, lab-based analysis. This summer project offers the opportunity to do pioneering analysis and a range of experiments on a range of cosmetics that were popular in Renaissance Europe, a time in which beautifying recipes became hugely popular and complex formulations were widespread. The scholar will investigate cosmetics with three different principal purposes: skin resurfacing, moisturizing, and sun protection. The summer project will incorporate three phases: comparison of Renaissance European beautifying procedures to contemporary equivalents, recreation of select formulations, and analysis of their effectivity. Evaluation of the products will likely include isolation, purification, and structural analysis of probable active ingredients, and may involve investigations using UV-vis spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, NMR spectroscopy, and LC-MS analysis. 
Candidates welcome who have an interest in the personal care industry and in analytical chemistry.

Probing the biochemistry of skin with lasers, light scattering and molecular ionisation

Supervisor

Dr Hannah Holtkamp
Dr Michel Nieuwoudt

Discipline

Photon Factory; Chemical Sciences

Project code: SCI028

Raman spectroscopy and mass spectrometry can provide distinct but powerful biochemical fingerprints of skin disease. In combination they can illuminate a greater understanding of the pathogenesis of unstudied skin diseases such as discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE). A form of lupus resulting in permanent scarring whose treatment and diagnose remain a challenge. Projects available include method development for bio-imaging analysis of skin biopsies using the Horiba LabRam Evolution Raman Microscope and/or MALDI-MS; data analysis for improved pre-processing of acquired data and co-registration of data between different analysis techniques; and chemometric analysis to resolve key differences between healthy and unhealthy skin.

Photonic device for real-time measurement of ischaemic tissue margins in surgery

Supervisor

Dr Michel Nieuwoudt

Discipline

Photon Factory; Chemical Sciences

Project code: SCI029

Ischemia is an insufficient blood supply causing a shortage of oxygen resulting in tissue death. If ischemic tissue is not sufficiently removed during technical surgeries involving highly blood rich organs (e.g. pancreas) it results in a significant increase in patient morbidities. This project is focused on the development and optimization of a spectroscopy-based biomedical photonic device that can report blood oxygenation percent on a micrometre scale, in real-time during surgery. 
Lab-based experiments include creating optimized procedures for device use in surgery, comparing their use to existing blood-oxygen meters, and calibration of spectroscopic peaks to blood oxygenation. 

Hyperspectral imaging methods for investing works of art

Supervisor

Dr Michel Nieuwoudt
Dr Hannah Holtkamp

Discipline

Photon Factory; Chemical Sciences

Project code: SCI030

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) is one of the most influential printmakers in the history of art, but also one of the most forged! Over the course of time the materials and methods used to make paper, inks and paints changed and these differences can be essential for differentiating a real artwork from a forgery. Working in collaboration with the Auckland Art Gallery, this project will look at the setup of a Near Infrared Hyperspectral Imaging camera for the analysis of art works. It will include the development of data analysis methods which can identify and differentiate key properties between different materials and inks that can be applied for the analysis of forgeries.