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Real Time Digital Holographic Inspection of Bio-Pharmaceutical Processes: Optical Monitoring of Cell Growth In the Production Line

University College Dublin


Brief of Description of Project

Real Time Digital Holographic Inspection of Bio-Pharmaceutical Processes: Optical Monitoring of Cell Growth In the Production Line

Project Background: We propose to develop a commercially viable automatic digital holographic (DH) system for in-line monitoring of the growth and viability of industrially important mammalian cells in both small and large scale bioreactors. Far–field DH imaging will be used to non-invasively obtain high resolution quantitative 3D multi-spectral (colour) information about cellular conditions in the bioreactor. Recent technical advances in low cost commercial solid-state light sources (lasers, LEDs), sensors (CCDs) and digital computers (multi-core, FPGA) now make it possible to digitally capture such data and to numerically process it in real-time (at video or appropriate industrial rates). Combining this hardware with software developed in-house we will implement a low cost DH system, compatible with current bioreactor technology, which will allow quantitative in-line monitoring of mammalian cell cultured based bioprocess (cell size, distribution, and viability).
The benefits to the customer are many. Current monitoring is slow, being performed off-line and involving manual sampling (risking contamination thus reducing yields). Furthermore current practise requires the use of capital intensive equipment (and expensive consumables) necessitating the presence of highly trained staff. The DH system can overcome all of these limitations and provide more detailed in-line information regarding the conditions of cells inside the bioreactor.

Candidates: This project is applied research oriented and has a strong practical engineering flavour. The student undertaking it should be highly motivated and prepared to work as a member of an active and diverse research group. Strong interest in optics, mathematics, computer programming and scientific instrumentation would be a plus.

Typical tasks Involved: Work as a member of a research group. Literature search (read papers about bio-pharma and optical systems). Prepare samples (with collaborative partners). Build, calibrate and apply optical systems. Model and optimise systems.
Some of our relevant publications:

  • G. Situ, J. P. Ryle, U. Gopinathan, J. T.Sheridan, “Generalized in-line digital holographic technique based on intensity measurements at two different planes,” Appl. Opt., Vol. 47, No. 5 , pp. 711-717, (Feb. 10th) 2008.
  • U. Gopinathan, D. S. Monaghan, B. M. Hennelly, C. P. Mc Elhinney, D. P. Kelly, J. B. McDonald, T. J. Naughton, J. T. Sheridan, “A projection system for real world three-dimensional objects using spatial light modulators,” IEEE J. Display Tech., Vol. 4, No. 2 , pp. 254-261, (Jun.) 2008.
  • J. E. Ward, W. T. Rhodes, J. T. Sheridan, “Lucky Imaging and aperture synthesis with low-redundancy apertures,” Appl. Opt., Vol. 48, No. 1, pp. A63-A70, (Jan. 1st) 2009.
  • J. P. Ryle, Dayan Li, J.T. Sheridan, “Feasibility investigation of using tunable infra red (IR) communications laser for multi-wavelength digital holographic Laplacian reconstruction,” Opt. Engg, Vol. 50, No. 10, Art No. 105801, 2011. doi:10.1117/1.3633335.
  • D. P. Kelly, J. J. Healy, B. M. Hennelly, J. T. Sheridan, “Quantifying the 2.5D imaging performance of digital holographic systems,” J. Eur. Opt. Soc., Rapid Publications 6, 11031, (14 pages) 2011. http://www.jeos.org/index.php/jeos_rp/article/view/11034
  • J. P. Ryle, S. McDonnell, J. T. Sheridan, “Lensless digital in-line holographic microscope,” J. Biomed. Opt., Vol. 16, Art. No. 126004, pp. 1-17, 2011. doi: 10.1117/1.3659681.


We regularly exchange students with collaborators in Spain, Germany and Canada and are also involved in collaborative work with Bio-Pharma Industry experts, i.e. Dr Susan McDonnell and via NIBRT.

NOTE: We wish to build new collaborative networks to work with and complement our existing programs.

Priority Areas

Principal Investigators

  • John T. Sheridan was born in Castlebar, Co. Mayo, Ireland, where he attended St Patricks National School and St Geralds College. He received his Bachelors degree (H1) in Electronic Engineering, from University College Galway (NUIG) in 1985, and his Masters degree in the Science of Electrical Engineering, (MScEE), from Georgia Tech, in 1986. While at GT he worked as a Research Assistant of Prof. William T. Rhodes. In 1987 he matriculated as a member of Jesus College Oxford and in 1991 he was awarded his doctorate by Oxford University for work carried out under the supervision of Prof. Laszlo Solymar and Prof. Colin J. R. Sheppard in the Department of Engineering Science. This was followed by postdoctoral research fellowships, supported first (1991) by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and later (1992) by a European Community Bursary. Both were held at the Lehrstuhl fur Angewandte Optik in Erlangen-Nürnberg University, under the leadership of Prof. Dr A. W. Lohmann. In 1994 he took up a position as a visiting scientist at the European Commission Joint Research Centre, in Italy. In 1997 he was appointed to the School of Physics, Dublin Institute of Technology as a permanent lecturer. He joined the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University College Dublin (UCD), in 2000 as a College Lecturer. In 2005 he became a Senior Lecturer, and in 2007 Professor of Optical Engineering within the UCD School of Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering. He acts as Deputy Director of the UCD Communications and Optoelectronic Research Centre and also of the SFI Strategic Research Cluster in Solar Energy Conversion. He has authored more than 400 publications (>180 in peer reviewed journals), which have been widely cited (ISI Web of Science: >3000 citation, h-index ~30. Google Scholar: >4500 citations, h~36). He regularly chairs and serves on national and international conference committees and review panels, and is a member of the editorial boards of several international journals. He is a co-founder and director of the startup company Equilume, (see www.equilume.com). John is married to the very wonderful Dr Jutta Baum-Sheridan and is the extremely proud father of M. Daniel O. Sheridan.

Research Groups

  • UCD School Of Electrical, Electronic & Communications Engineering
    Our research groups rank among the leaders in their areas internationally and have spawned a number of successful companies. We have an extensive network of research collaborations with leading universities and companies in Ireland and internationally, and present a range of exciting PhD opportunities for highly-qualified candidates. http://www.ucd.ie/eacollege/eece/