ADVANCED R&D

The Neurotox Laboratory is specialising in development of new bioassays as well as interdisciplinary research on implementation of innovative technologies for analysis of small aquatic model organisms. 

We have pioneered development of microfluidic and millifluidic chip-based technologies in water quality sensing, aquatic ecotoxicology and more recently neurobehavioural toxicology.

Microfluidic Embryo Arrays

The major obstacle against manipulation and positioning of millimetre-sized fish embryos is linked to their substantial mass (850-1050 μg for zebrafish embryos), which leads to rapid gravitational-induced sedimentation and high momentum of translational and rotational movements.

We have developed several pioneering microfluidic living embryo array technologies including systems to perform automated Fish Embryo Toxicity Tests (FET, OECD TG 236 ) under continuous microperfusion (μFET).

Those innovative technologies allow for rapid loading and non-invasive immobilization of large numbers of zebrafish embryos suspended in a continuous microfluidic perfusion as a means of toxicant delivery.

A high density Zebrafish Living Embryo Array (ZLEA) technology pioneered in our lab features 12 independent modules with a total of 252 zebrafish embryo cages. Its layout matches the one of standard 96-well plate enabling seemless integration with automated microscopy and imagining cytometry systems.

ZLEA technology has been developed for high throughput Fish Embryo Toxicity Tests (FET, OECD TG 236) in chemical risk assessment and aquatic ecotoxicity testing.

Microfluidic Living Embryo Array Technology

Supports rapid loading and non-invasive immobilization of large numbers of zebrafish embryos suspended in a continuous microfluidic perfusion as a means of toxicant delivery.

Living Embryo Arrays in Ecotoxicity Testing

Examples of innovative microfluidic technologies for bioassays on zebrafish embryos.

The systems have wide-reaching applications in ecotoxicology, water quality sensing as well as drug discovery

Microperfusion in Behavioural Ecotoxicology

Chemosensory avoidance behaviors of aquatic invertebrates provide a functional link between early responses to pollutants at the infraorganismal and ecologically relevant supraorganismal levels.

Despite significant importance, there is a notable lack of laboratory techniques to study chemotactic behaviours at a high throughput, for instance in water quality biomonitoring applications.

We have pioneered many scalable and dynamic perfusion platforms for quantitative chemobehavioral studies.

Miniaturised fluidics systems introduce  laminar flow at low Reynold numbers. Laminar flow enables creation of unique zones of fluids that flow next to each other without mixing.

Our data demonstrates significant benefits of integration of laminar flow systems with video-based animal tracking. Such systems enable new discoveries of behavioural indices and development of innovative sensitive biotests. 

Microperfusion caging technologies for analysis of chemosensory avoidance behaviours of aquatic invertebrates.

Laminar flow at low Reynold numbers thus enabling creation of unique zones of fluids that do not mix with each other.

Microfluidics-enabled Behavioural Ecotoxicity Tests

Examples of innovative microfluidic systems for behavioural ecotoxicity tests

HT Behavioural Analysis Systems

Large scale, high-throughput and automated animal tracking can support prioritisation of neurotoxic chemicals and chemobehavioural screening in ecotoxicology, neurotoxicology as well as neuro-active drug discovery.

We are pioneering new behavioural analysis technologies, neurotoxicity bioassays and applications based on high-throughout video-based animal tracking.

In particular we specialise in development of  advanced behavioural ecotoxicity biotests and building specialised ultra-high definition infrared video imaging systems. At the moment we are developing systems to perform large scale taxis assays (defined directional sensorimotor responses to physical or chemical stimuli) and startle responses (alert responses to a sudden and unexpected stimulus or a simulated predator).

We have developed innovative multi-camera 4K video imaging technologies with associated video optimisation techniques as well as high-throughput animal tracking pipelines.

At present we are working on custom real-time, online animal tracking and behavioural solutions  that will support new biotests assessing impact of toxicants on cognitive (memory and learning) functions.

Large scale, high-throughput and automated animal tracking provides new opportunities for chemobehavioural screening in ecotoxicology

The Neurotox Lab is pioneering innovative multi-camera 4K video imaging technologies with associated video optimisation techniques as well as high-throughput animal tracking pipelines.

High-Throughput Neuro-Behavioural Biotests

We are developing large scale, high-throughput and automated animal tracking paradigms for chemobehavioural screening in ecotoxicology and neurotoxicology.

Custom Interfaces and Smart Laboratory Automation

To facilitate high throughput ecotoxicity biotests and enable new, custom bioanalytical systems we are developing diverse supporting plug-&-play devices.

They range from fluidic interfaces, custom programmable and miniaturised peristaltic pumping manifolds to 3D printed camera mounts and mechatronic actuation interfaces.

The in-house prototyping capabilities enable us to pioneer new neuro-behavioural bioassays as well as automate standard ecotoxicity biotests with innovative solutions.

Application-specific custom laboratory interfaces

We develop fluidic interfaces, custom programmable and miniaturised peristaltic pumping manifolds to 3D printed camera mounts and mechatronic actuation systems.