Diagnostic tests that can determine the presence of different biological materials have become increasingly important to our health, food security and the environment. They support activities from the detection of food adulteration or specific pathogens within our foodstuffs and the environment to genetic and disease diagnostics for modern medicine. Identifying these by the targeted detection of specific DNA sequences within the unique genetic makeup of a species broadly describes molecular diagnostics.
In addition to DNA-based molecular diagnostics, alternative technologies can identify biological material based on specific, unique antigens, for example, proteins, carbohydrates and other biomolecules. These kinds of tests are often based on an immunoassay: the interaction of a specific antibody with its target. Increasingly, such tests can be found outside the laboratory and within the home; examples include the lateral flow test strips found in home pregnancy tests and, more recently, home-based coronavirus test kits.
RSK company ADAS and its biotechnology business are experts in these fields. We deliver innovative solutions to diagnostic issues for a range of clients through the development of bespoke diagnostic tests for diseases, pathogens, other biological markers and contaminants, and are also able to develop methodologies for routine testing or screening purposes.
Practical experience underpinned by robust science
ADAS has built a team comprising highly skilled scientists often working in collaboration with UK academics. Our combination of insight and practical experience, underpinned by robust, informed, science-based information, enables us to meet the needs of our domestic and international clients.
eDNA- and DNA-based diagnostics
We are experts in the analysis of eDNA in water samples, a methodology that can be applied to surveying for aquatic species based on the collection of a simple water sample. We develop methods for the detection of invasive, protected or at-risk species such as the great crested newt. To date, we are the only laboratory that has scored 100% in the industry proficiency testing scheme for this. Our tests can detect single species or communities in terrestrial and aquatic environments.
Community analysis: We develop methodologies for the analysis of communities through metabarcoding approaches using the latest mass DNA sequencing methodologies and our own bioinformatics pipelines.
Animal species testing: We develop tests for species determination by DNA sequence analysis. We currently offer a commercial testing service for bats through dropping DNA analysis.
Novel immunodiagnostics and therapeutics research
We develop phage display methods for novel peptide and antibody isolation based on next generation phage display techniques. These typically produce diagnostic reagents that can be used in, for example, immunoassays targeting a specific analyte or serological assays for determining disease status.
Our expertise in this technology area and its possible applications include epitope mapping of antibody based immune responses; isolation of T-cell mimotopes (both of these can be used to develop novel diagnostics and can be applied to reverse vaccinology approaches); novel phage-display library construction; novel methods for antimicrobial peptide (AMP) isolation; and immunoassay development.
We are also experienced in monoclonal antibody isolation and recombinant protein production.