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Dr Maria Velasco-Garcia

Profile summary

Professional biography

Senior Lecturer in Analytical Sciences

My research area is the development of novel chemical sensors and biosensors at point of care in medical and veterinary diagnostics

 Previous employment

Post Doctoral Researcher, Cranfield Biotechnology Centre, Cranfield University, UK, 1998-2000

Scientific Researcher, BBSRC, Silsoe Research Institute, UK, 2000-2005

Research interests

I am interested in the development of analytical diagnostic tools, focusing in detection of biomarkers for infection and disease. There is an ever-increasing demand for simple, selective, accurate and reliable methods for testing indicators of human and animal health status. Application of biosensors in clinical and veterinary testing has several potential advantages over other analysis including increase assay speed, automation, point-of-care diagnostics, reduced costs and capability for multi-target analyses.

I was awarded a grant by the World Cancer Research Fund International ( to develop low cost disposable sensors for the measurement of  DNA adducts in urine, related to red meat intake and the risk of colorectal cancer.  High meat consumption is associated with increased endogenous formation of N-nitrocompound residues that can alter DNA. O6-carboxymethylguanine (O6-CMdG) is formed when DNA is damaged by nitrosated glycine. The potential of excreted DNA adducts in urine as a completely non-invasive way of measuring human exposure to carcinogens has been know for some time but its use has been limited by the lack of suitable analytical methodologies.

Another project focuses on the bioengineering of electrochemical sensor arrays for acute phase proteins, that are considered as indicators of disease and well-being in animals. The project seeks to explore a new route to develop affordable field-based sensing technologies for specific biomarkers based on aptamers as molecular-recognition elements. The biosensors for acute phase proteins could be used as an early warning system, indicating when further diagnostic tests are required and in addition they could also be used as an intital screening test in zoonotic disease surveillance at abattoirs in the event of food scares.

Teaching interests

Author on the work-based learning module S110 Health Sciences in practice

Module Team Chair and Author on the work-based learning module S130 Analytical Sciences in practice

Module Team Chair and Author on the work-based learning module S230 Developing your Analytical Sciences in practice

Topic Team Chair and Author on the module S288 Practical Science - Water Quality Monitoring

Author on the module S215 General Chemistry 

Author on the module S206 Environmental Science

Module Team Chair and Author on the module S111 Questions in Science


Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Biomedical Research Network (BRN)NetworkFaculty of Science


Development of a liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry method to investigate the presence of biomarkers of DNA damage in urine related to red meat consumption and risk of colorectal cancer (2013-11-15)
Da Pieve, Chiara; Sahgal, Natasha; Moore, Sharon A. and Velasco-Garcia, Maria N.
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 27(21) (pp. 2493-2503)

Development of novel single-stranded nucleic acid aptamers against the pro-Angiogenic and metastatic enzyme heparanase (HPSE1) (2012-07-15)
Simmons, Suzanne; Velasco, Maria and Missailidis, Sotiris

Development of diagnostic and therapeutic aptamers against enzymes crucial for tumour development and metastasis (2010)
Missailidis, S.; Arnold, S.; Simmons, S. C.; Velasco-Garcia, M.; McKenzie, E. A.; Kantiotou, K. and Sotiropoulou, G.
European Journal of Cancer Supplements, 8(5) (pp. 11-12)

Optical biosensors for probing at the cellular level: A review of recent progress and future prospects (2009-02)
Velasco-Garcia, M. N.
Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, 20(1) (pp. 27-33)

New trends in aptamer-based electrochemical biosensors (2009)
Velasco-Garcia, Maria and Missailidis, Sotiris
Gene Therapy and Molecular Biology, 13(1) (pp. 1-10)

Developing aptamers as effective anticancer agents or recognition units in biosensor technologies (2008-09)
Simmons, S. C.; Velasco, M. N.; Brenchley, P. E. C.; McKenzie, E. and Missailidis, S.
Anticancer Research, 28(5C) (pp. 3486-3486)

Quantitative analysis of the response of an electrochemical biosensor for progesterone in milk (2005-04-15)
Xu, Y. F.; Velasco-Garcia, M. and Mottram, T. T.
Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 20(10) (pp. 2061-2070)

Aflatoxin M1 determination in raw milk using a flow-injection immunoassay system (2004-08-24)
Badea, Mihaela; Micheli, Laura; Messia, Maria Cristina; Candigliota, Tiziana; Marconi, Emanuele; Mottram, Toby; Velasco-Garcia, Maria; Moscone, Danila and Palleschi, Guiseppe
Analytica Chimica Acta, 520(1-2) (pp. 141-148)

Biosensor technology addressing agricultural problems (2003-01-07)
Velasco-Garcia, Maria N. and Mottram, Toby
Biosystems Engineering, 84(1) (pp. 1-12)

Automatic on-line analysis of milk constituents (urea, ketones, enzymes and hormones) using biosensors (2002-01)
Mottram, T.; Velasco-Garcia, M.; Berry, P.; Richards, P.; Ghesquiere, J. and Masson, L.
Comparative Clinical Pathology, 11(1) (pp. 50-58)

Biosensors in the livestock industry: an automated ovulation prediction system for dairy cows (2001-11-01)
Velasco-Garcia, Maria N. and Mottram, Toby
Trends in Biotechnology, 19(11) (pp. 433-434)

Opportunities and challenges of tertiary level ICT-based science education in Ghana (2023)
Cullen, Jane; Ocloo, Augustine; Owusu, Kofi; Murphy, Kerry; Velasco, Maria; Davies, Sarah-Jane and Addae-Kyeremeh, Eric
In : Education for Social & Environmental Justice: Diversity, Sustainability , Responsibility: UKFIET 17th Conference on International Education and Development (07 Sep 2023 online; 12-14 Sep 2023 Oxfo UK, Oxford, UK)

Screening for colorectal cancer risk biomarkers related to diet (2010-09)
Da Pieve, Chiara; Moore, Sharon and Velasco, Maria
In : Nutrition, Physical Activity & Cancer Prevention: Current Challenges, New Horizons (12-13 Sep 2010, Royal College of Physicians, London, UK)

Development of aptamers as tools for the detection and therapy of heparanase in metastatic cancer (2010)
Simmons, S.; Brenchley, P. E. C.; McKenzie, E. A.; Velasco, M. and Missailidis, S.
In : SET for Britain 2010 (8 Mar 2010, House of Commons, London)

Novel work-based learning courses in analytical sciences (2010)
Williams, Ruth and Velasco, Maria
In : Variety in Chemistry Education Conference (02-03 Sep 2010, Loughborough University, UK)

Biosensor technology for the screening of cancer risk biomarkers related to diet (2009-09)
Velasco, Maria; Sahgal, Natasha; Shuker, David and Moore, Sharon
In : EuroAnalysis 2009 (6-10 Sep 2009, Innsbruck, Austria)

Anti-heparanase aptamers as inhibitors of angiogenesis and tissue remodelling (2009)
Simmons, Suzanne; Brenchley, P. E. C.; Iley, James; McKenzie, E. A.; Velasco, Maria and Missailidis, Sotiris
In : YSL Networking Angiogenesis Conference (14 Jul 2009)

Delivering analytical science e-learning in the workplace (2009)
Velasco, Maria and Williams, Ruth
In : EuroAnalysis 2009 (6-10 Sep 2009, Innsbruck, Austria)

Studies towards automated ovulation prediction in the pig industry: an electrochemical immunosensor for oestradiol in saliva [poster presentation] (2002)
Pemberton, R.M.; Hart, J.P.; Pickard, Amanda; Velassco-Garcia, M.N. and Mottram, T.T.
In : 7th World Congress on Biosensors (15-17 May 2002, Kyoto, Japan)

Anderson, Ian; Kaplan, Claude; Mottram, Toby; Taylor, Stephen Russell and Velasco, Maria