Dr Ruchi Gupta BEng, MASc, PhD, MRSC, AFHEA

School of Chemistry
Senior Lecturer
Birmingham Fellow in Healthcare Technologies

Contact details

Address
School of Chemistry
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Ruchi Gupta is a Senior Lecturer and Birmingham Fellow in Healthcare Technologies in the School of Chemistry (SoC) and College of Medical and Dental Sciences (MDS). She is a member of Interactions, Interfaces and Sensing research unit in the SoC. She is a part of Institute of Inflammation and Ageing in MDS. Dr Gupta is also involved with Healthcare Technologies Institute.

Dr Gupta’s research vision is to develop revolutionary wearable, implantable and point-of-care systems that can be seamlessly integrated into daily life of individuals while monitoring health and using the information to create feedback loops for fully optimised treatments tailored to individual patients. She has received major grants and fellowships from EPSRC, RSC, RAEng and industry.

She has been a winner or runner-up of several business plan competitions including BioPharm 2020: Bio Business Plan Competition, EMERGE – Social Innovation Ideas Competition and Venture Further. Her entrepreneurial efforts were recognised by a Virgin Media Pioneer Award.

View Dr Gupta's profile on ORCID

Qualifications

Biography

Dr Gupta attended Nanyang Technological University, Singapore for her undergraduate studies on a prestigious SIA-NOL scholarship and subsequently received an IEEE Reliability/CPMT/ED Chapter (Singapore) book prize. She completed her MASc at McMaster University (Canada) where she developed the basic components of generic and programmable microfluidics. This project bridged chemical, biological and computational sciences, and resulted in the award of first runner-up of the Brian L. Barge Award of Excellence in Microsystems Integration. Her MASc thesis won Radisav Stevanoic Book prize.

Her PhD at the University of Manchester (UK) was funded by Syngenta and focused on developing electroseparation methods for sample preparation and analysis of self-digesting bagasse reliably to produce biofuels from waste (rather than food crops). Her PhD research received cash prizes from the RSC including the Electroseparations Group, and the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Her PhD research was published in a leading journal on separations science, Journal of Chromatography.

Dr Gupta’s research as a Postdoctoral Research Associate and later as a Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) Enterprise Fellow developed hydrogel-based optical waveguide sensors, studied mechanisms of light propagation in hydrogels, as well as investigated their applications. The work was presented at major conferences on optical sensors including Europtrode and MicroTAS, and published in Sensors and Actuators, Analyst and Lab-on-Chip. She was a Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry at University of Hull between 2014 and 2016 before joining University of Birmingham in 2017.

Postgraduate supervision

We are always looking to recruit talented and committed scientists. Postdoctoral positions in the group are advertised on the University website and jobs.ac.uk. If you are interested in holding an existing or applying for fellowship applications to join Dr Gupta's group, please get in touch. 

PhD positions in the group are advertised on the School of Chemistry website, FindAPhD and Euraxess. Self-funded PhD students may get in touch with Dr Gupta for discussion. Please include your CV and transcripts.

Please contact Dr Gupta in advance if you would like to discuss opportunities to join the research group over the summer. Previously, students have joined the group for a few months via ERASMUS, Sci-Phy-4-Health, IIT Bombay placement and RSC summer studentships.

Research

The research theme in Gupta group is polymeric optical sensors. We design internally referenced transducers and associated instrumentation to analyse species of interest in “real” samples and environmental conditions. A significant activity in the group is also focused on polymer design, engineering and characterisation. Additionally, we are developing (photo) chemistries for the fabrication of optical nanostructures for sensing using solution processing methods in a single step. We collaborate with researchers in clinical sciences and industry to exploit the application of our sensors in point-of-care/ point-of-use analysis.

The research in the group is broadly divided into three themes:

Biosensor platforms

The primary sensing mechanism is based on change in refractive index caused by binding of analyte to recognition species attached to an optical transducer. Alternatively, the sensing mechanism relies on changes in absorption or fluorescence or scattering, which can be a result of analyte itself or its interaction with another species. The optical biosensors we are currently working on include waveguides and interferometers.

The sample preparation and delivery is achieved using microfluidic architectures integrated with the sensor. Techniques such as milling, injection moulding and photolithography are currently being used to make microfluidic structures, which range from a simple microchannel to 3D interconnected multichannel systems. The research in the group also includes integration of electroseparation techniques with optical sensors both to remove sample interferents and pre-concentrate analyte. By doing so, the limit of detection of sensors could be improved by about three orders of magnitude.

The members working in this theme are Hazel Dixon, Elisabetta Labella and Thomas Wensley. Other members co-supervised by Dr Gupta under this theme are Beverly Andrew and Nasser Alamrani at the University of Hull.

Photochemistry and photophysics

The research group has been investigating (photo) chemistries for the fabrication of optical nanostructures using solution processed methods to facilitate their mass manufacturing. We design chemical moieties (e.g. photocaged molecules) with required absorption spectrum, solubility and functional groups (so that they may be covalently attached to polymers). The light activated chemistries also allow us to control the spatial position of immobilised recognition species (such as antibodies and aptamers) in polymers to make array based sensors for multiplexed analysis.

Additionally, we study interaction of light with polymeric nanostructures to design holograms and photonic crystals capable of manipulating light. These structures are typically used as label-free optical sensors for applications in healthcare and environmental monitoring.

The members working in this theme are Firoj Ali and Anil Pal.

Polymers and hydrogels

We work with polymers because they offer chemical diversity that allow us to tailor their physiochemical properties. For example, by tailoring the relative concentration and reactivity rates of monomers, we are able to obtain co-polymers with required concentration of reactive groups. This in turn implies that recognition species can be immobilized with tailored density within the polymer matrix.

We are developing polymers with required: (1) pore size and connectivity, (2) optical transparency; (3) ability to respond to applied stimuli; and (4) withstand mechanical stresses. We use a combination of swelling, diffusion studies, electron microscopy, UV-Vis spectroscopy, compression and rheology tests to characterise the polymers.

The polymers and hydrogels that we have worked with so far includes silica sol-gel, polystyrene, polysaccharides, polyacrylamide and polyethylene glycol.

The members working in this theme are William Glover-Humphreys and Nicola Toole.

Other activities

Membership of professional societies and services

  • EPSRC UKRI Innovation Fellowship Interview Panel, 2018
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), 2017
  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC), 2016
  • Permanent steering committee member of Europtrode, 2016
  • Member of EPSRC peer review college and prioritization panel meetings, 2016
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA), 2013
  • Member of 50 Under 30 Initiative by Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE), 2013

Outreach activities

  • Ogden Trust Science Ambassador, 2013
  • British Science Festival, 2012
  • Thought for Food, 2011
  • Digistores, 2009

Awards and prizes

  • Annual Review Award (University of Birmingham), 2017
  • Staff Excellence Award (University of Hull), 2016
  • BioPharm 2020: Bio Business Plan Competition (Finalist), 2010
  • EMERGE – Social Innovation Ideas Competition (Winner), 2010
  • Venture Further (3rd prize), 2010
  • Virgin Media Pioneer Award, 2007
  • Brian L. Barge Award for Excellence in Microsystems Integration (Runner-up), 2007
  • Radisav Stevanovic Book Award, 2007
  • IEEE Reliability/CPMT/ED Chapter (Singapore) book prize, 2005

Publications

Please visit Researchgate and Orcid for an up-to-date list of publications.

Selected publications

  • R. Gupta, N.J. Goddard, A Proof-of-Principle Study for Performing Enzyme Bioassays Using Substrates Immobilized in a Leaky Optical Waveguide, Sensors and Actuators B, 2017, 244, 549. DOI: 10.1016/j.snb.2017.01.05.
  • R. Gupta, N.J. Goddard, Broadband Absorption Spectroscopy for Rapid pH Measurement in Small Volumes Using an Integrated Porous Waveguide, Analyst, 2017, 142, 169. DOI: 10.1039/C6AN01896C.
  • R. Gupta, N.J. Goddard, Optical Waveguide for Common Path Simultaneous Refractive Index and Broadband Absorption Measurements in Small Volumes, Sensors and Actuators B, 2016, 237, 1066. DOI: 10.1016/j.snb.2016.07.162.
  • Horsley, K. Macleod, R. Gupta, N. Goddard, N. Bell, Enhanced Photoacoustic Gas Analyser Response Time and Impact on Accuracy at Fast Ventillation Rates during Multiple Breath Washout, PLoS One, 2014, 9, e98487. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098487.
  • R. Gupta, B. Bastani, N.J. Goddard, B. Grieve, Absorption Spectroscopy in Microfluidic Flow Cells using a Metal Clad Leaky Waveguide Device with a Porous Gel Waveguide Layer, Analyst, 2013, 138, 307. DOI: 10.1039/c2an35898k.
  • R. Gupta, S.J. Baldock, P. Carreras, P.R. Fielden, N.J. Goddard, S. Mohr, B.S. Razavi, B.J.T. Brown, A Microfluidic Droplet for Self-Synchronised Production of Droplets, Lab on a Chip, 2011, 23, 4052. DOI: 10.1039/c1lc20695h.
  • R. Gupta, S.J. Baldock, P.R. Fielden, B.D. Grieve, Capillary Zone Electrophoresis for the Analysis of Glycoforms of Cellobiohydrolase, Journal of Chromatography A, 2011, 1218, 5362. DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2011.06.036.

View all publications in research portal