KTP Associate

Categorie(s): Agri-Tech Animal Health Career Focus

Biotangents is a veterinary diagnostics company, based in Midlothian Science Zone, and using highly adaptable molecular diagnostic technology, Moduleic Sensing™, the company is developing AmpliSpec™ diagnostic tests to detect a variety of infectious diseases in livestock.

Adrian Butterworth is a KTP Associate with livestock diagnostics company Biotangents 

Midlothian Science Zone talks with Adrian Butterworth, KTP Associate

Adrian Butterworth is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate. This programme is a collaborative, three-way partnership between businesses, universities and talented graduates/post graduates, creating positive impact and driving innovation.

Adrian's KTP project is between the University of Strathclyde and Biotangents.

What has been your career path?

I have a BSc Biomedical Science at Newcastle University, MSc Biomedical Engineering at University of Strathclyde and a PhD Biomedical Engineering at University of Strathclyde, making diagnostic tests to identify antimicrobial resistance in E.coli.

During the first lockdown in 2021, I carried out six-months of research assistant work on a variety of biosensing projects for COVID before returning to finish my PhD.

Following my studies, I applied for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between the University of Strathclyde and Biotangents. I have now been in post at Biotangents for a year, working between the business and the university to embed academic expertise into the company to support their ongoing and longer term projects.

What work does Biotangents do and what is your role?

Biotangents are developing diagnostic tests for a variety of livestock diseases, such as Bovine viral diarrhoea, mastitis and brucellosis. 

We have a team of around 20 people working on these different tests. I am working on next generation tests using electrochemical detection approaches for mastitis pathogens, which will improve our ability to detect multiple organisms in a single sample and help reduce costs and complexity for the end user.

I am usually based in the lab, either at Biotangents or the university. My main responsibilities include managing the electrochemistry project, undertaking labwork and analysing results, and interfacing with academic, industrial and funding partners who could support the project. 

What are your career achievements and highlights so far?

I have published a number of papers, including one on using a portable electrochemical device for diagnostic sensing in low resource settings.

During the first Covid-19 lockdown, I was also involved in two projects to develop electrochemical biosensors for the SARS-CoV-2 virus; a CSO grant to look for the virus in saliva and an SFC project to monitor wastewater Covid levels in India to improve resource allocation and lockdown planning. I also worked on protein and DNA biomarker detection to identify battlefield sepsis as part of a DSTL project.

During my PhD I developed a novel isothermal amplification system to sensitively detect antimicrobial resistance genes from bacterial samples with minimal sample preprocessing.

What are you focused on at the moment and what are your future plans?

Currently I am focussed on optimising the biosensors we have in development to make them as sensitive and reliable as possible, as well as finding ways we can make the electrochemical processes more user-friendly.

I hope to see this project all the way through from concept to marketable product, which is a difficult journey for the types of sensor we make and would be a great achievement for both myself and the business.

What are the benefits for you of working within a ‘park’ environment?

Working at a science and innovation park gives me opportunities to network with other researchers in a business-oriented setting, rather than an academic one.  

What do you enjoy most about working in Midlothian?

Whilst my time on Pentlands Science Park has been limited so far, with being more based at the university last year, I have found that the collaborative atmosphere of the businesses on the Park is great.

Having communal facilities (seating, library, cafes etc) where people can mix also helps an exchange of ideas and expertise from different perspectives, which can be very useful for supporting projects and networking. 

For further information, please contact:

Biotangents Limited
Douglas House,
Pentlands Science Park,
Bush Loan,
Penicuik,
Midlothian, EH26 0PL

e: info@biotangents.co.uk
t: +44 (0)131 514 0871

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