New developments in healthcare: industry meets emerging science

New technology to tackle a diverse range of issues in healthcare came to the fore at the latest Cambridge Network ‘Industry meets emerging science’ event.

The second event in this series attracted more than 120 business people, who packed into the Hauser Forum West café to hear from 25 post-doctoral / PhD (and equivalent) researchers from the University of Cambridge.

The researchers had just two minutes each to tell the audience about their project and its envisaged applications and impact. This meant the pace was fast and furious, but fascinating and informative. In the run-up to the event, Dr Chris Pearson and Dr Paula Cawkill, with the help of other University of Cambridge Knowledge Transfer Facilitators (supported by the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account and the MRC Proximity to Discovery: Industry Engagement Award) had co-ordinated, coached and rehearsed the selection of speakers.

Chaired once again by Dr Hermann Hauser and Prof Sir Mark Welland, talks came from across the whole University. Topics ranged from ‘know-how’ – to insert a screw to fix a replacement hip joint at the exact trajectory – to new ways of drug and nutrient delivery to an infant via the mother.

There was an environmental project to look at the heating and cooling of domestic and public buildings in China, with the added complication of the environmental impact on policy. Other projects included one from the Department of Psychiatry, where personalised data is being collected and fed back into NHS data; machine learning for personalised medicine from the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science; and DNA origami nanopores from the Department of Physics.

Cambridge is a centre for cancer research and the audience also heard from researchers looking at less invasive oesophageal cancer detection techniques (using a ‘cytosponge’) and at tumour treatment analysis using molecular imaging techniques, which are far cheaper and quicker than current methods.

With over 4 million people now suffering from diabetes, managing blood glucose levels is a challenge for the NHS, and the audience was told about a project to develop a technology to automate glucose control with an artificial pancreas system. Other projects described alternative ways to cryopreserve cells and the use of natural polyelectrolyte complexes for wound healing applications.

Following the presentations there was ample time for the audience of investors and industry to network over a glass of wine with the researchers. There were exchanges of business cards, discussions of the talks and advice, possibly with a view to future meetings and maybe even potential collaborations.


All the feedback was positive and there have already been some follow-up discussions on the science presented. Comments included:

“Hugely inspirational application of clever stuff”

“Confident and enthusiastic speakers. Truly refreshing”

“Showcase of amazing research to commercials”

If you would be interested in the full list of projects that were shown on the day or a particular research area, please contact me ( .


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