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Life sciences collaboration in Inverness aims to improve healthcare safety

By Calum MacLeod

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Professor Phil Whitfield is delighted the university can use its expertise and equipment to support a local company.
Professor Phil Whitfield is delighted the university can use its expertise and equipment to support a local company.

A LIFE sciences company is joining forces with the University of the Highlands and Islands to analyse the effectiveness of its products.

Based at Inverness Campus, Aseptium develops technologies to decontaminate medical devices. Its products aim to reduce infections carried by unclean surgical instruments.

The company will use the expertise of the university’s biomedical sciences team to assess its decontamination systems.

Professor Phillip Whitfield and Dr Mary Doherty will use the university’s mass spectrometer, a machine which measures the mass of molecules, to analyse the effectiveness of Aseptium’s systems. Initial tests have shown the products help improve cleaning effectiveness, but this new study will provide detailed information on the types and levels of difficult-to-remove particles.

Prof Whitfield said: “Our techniques will provide Aseptium with high-grade analytical information which can be used to validate their current products and help in designing new ones. We are delighted to be able to use our expertise and equipment to support a local company in this way.”

Pawel de Sternberg Stojalowski, Aseptium founder and managing director, said: “Further analysis of contamination on the molecular level is critical for deeper understanding of the cleaning processes that, at the end of the day, make surgical instruments safe for the patients.

"We are very much looking forward to the results of the study to improve our current products and perhaps develop even better solutions in the future.”

The six-month research project is being supported by the collaborative campus challenge fund, administered by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The fund aims to support new life sciences developments in and around Inverness Campus.

Karen Thomson, HIE’s senior development manager for the campus, said: “Inverness Campus is designed to boost the significant contribution the growing life sciences sector makes to regional development across the Highlands and Islands. The collaborative campus challenge fund supports projects that are led by education organisations and crucially that involve joint working with commercial partners. It’s about companies and organisations exchanging and sharing new ideas and information to develop innovative solutions for medical and healthcare issues. This new project by the University of the Highlands and Islands and Aseptium is an excellent example and we look forward to hearing how it progresses."

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