HELLO! I'M jon.

Dr Jon Ashley is a Marie Curie Co-Fund Fellow at the Department of Life Sciences within the Food Quality and Safety group. His research interests focus on the development of new methodologies for producing synthetic receptors which bind proteins and small molecules. He also has an interest in applying these receptors in the development of new nanosensors for food monitoring and medical diagnostics.



About Jon

Dr. Jon Ashley received his PhD in Chemistry from the National University of Singapore in 2013 under the supervision of Professor Sam Fong Yau Li.  After his first post doc at the University Hospital Basel, Jon moved to Cranfield University to work on an Innovate UK project to develop novel nanosensors for the detection of milk protein allergens in collaboration with the University of Manchester, Siemens and Unilever.  In 2016, he moved to the department of Micro- and Nanotechnology (Nanotech) within Denmark Technical University (DTU) to work on a Villum Foundation funded project in collaboration with Danish Crown to develop multifunctional nanomaterials and nanosensors for the detection antibiotic residues.  Jon moved to Braga in 2018 to work on the DAAD project as part of the Marie Curie Co-funded Fellowship. 



The Cofund project

The prevalence of food allergies in Europe is a growing concern for consumers as well as food manufacturers.  In particular, there is an urgent need to minimise the risk posed by allergens in food manufacturing plants, in terms of ensuring the correct labelling and storage of individual ingredients.  In addition, there is a requirement to develop more robust analytical methods to ensure that both food processing equipment and ingredients sourced from outside suppliers are free from allergen residues.  This would minimised the risk of cross-contamination of different food lines and ultimately allow food manufacturers to remove precautionary labelling (e.g., “May contain nuts”) from food packaging. 

In the Development of Aptamers for Allergen Detection (DAAD) project, a simple portable integrated localised surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) based nanosensor chip will be developed which incorporates ssDNA aptamers receptors with AuNPs immobilised on a transparent substrate as the optical transducer for the detection of food allergens. The sensor will be used to monitor different allergens in real raw food ingredients as well as cleaning-in-place (CIP) system wash samples within food manufacturing environments.  This would potentially lead to the rapid, sensitive and selective detection of food allergens at the point-of-source. Furthermore, we will develop a new simplified method for the selection of aptamers which will allow for their rapid development.