Professor Fiona Lyng
Position: Centre Manager Radiation and Environmental Science Centre
Fiona Lyng holds a BSc (Physics/Chemistry) from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD from University College Dublin. She has held post-doctoral research positions at Daresbury Laboratory, UK; University College Cork and Dublin Institute of Technology and is currently Head of the DIT Centre for Radiation and Environmental Science and leads a team of 15 researchers. She has published over 85 peer reviewed research papers, has filed 3 patents and licensed technology to an Irish start up company. She has supervised 20 PhD students to completion and has successfully won over €2 million in research funding as PI plus over €20 million in research funding as partner. She won the Enterprise Ireland ‘One to Watch’ Award in 2011 for research on new technology for cervical cancer screening based on Raman spectroscopy.
Ongoing work as part of CERVIVA, funded by Enterprise Ireland [EI] has been developing a novel tool for cervical cancer screening based on Raman spectroscopy. Raman spectroscopy is a powerful tool that can generate a biochemical fingerprint of a sample in a rapid and non-destructive manner. Raman spectroscopy is an optical method based on inelastic light scattering. The sample is illuminated by monochromatic laser light and interactions between the incident photons and molecules in the sample result in scattering of the light. The exact energy required to excite a molecular vibration depends on the masses of the atoms involved in the vibration and the type of chemical bonds between these atoms and may be influenced by molecular structure, molecular interactions and the chemical microenvironment of the molecule. Therefore, the positions, relative intensities and shapes of the bands in a Raman spectrum carry detailed information about the molecular composition of the sample and can be thought of as a biochemical fingerprint. There is convincing evidence from our own and other laboratories that Raman spectroscopy can be used as a diagnostic tool to identify spectral changes in malignant and premalignant cells.
In our ongoing work, funded by the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund, the technology is being developed into ’the molecular Pap test’ which can potentially identify biochemical changes related to CIN and high-risk HPV infection. Raman spectroscopy can differentiate between HPV positive and HPV negative cervical ThinPrep samples with the variation between the samples being attributed to differences in protein, carbohydrate and lipid content. In other recent work, a prediction model of the biomarker protein p16INK4A expression was constructed based on fourier transformed Infrared [FTIR] spectroscopic data utilising Partial Least Squares analysis. Modelling was predominantly based on spectral features arising from nucleic acid, lipid and protein contributing features, which are influenced by the HPV interaction with the host cell.
This programme will conduct the first clinical trial of this technology for cervical screening. The trial will be based at the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital where the pathology department currently fully accredited by INAB to ISO standards, and is in the process of applying for CLIA accreditation. This will be the first hospital based laboratory in Ireland with CLIA accreditation and will be at the forefront for clinical trials going forward. The clinical trial to be undertaken within this project will be performed under LEAN and SixSigma processes. Last updated 2015
Raman spectroscopy in the diagnosis of cervical cancer
This project aims to develop a novel tool for cervical cancer screening based on low resolution Raman spectroscopy.
Raman spectroscopy is a powerful tool that can generate a biochemical fingerprint of a sample in a rapid and non-destructive manner. A large library of Raman spectra from a wide sample base including all grades of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN I, II and III) is being recorded and used to develop an algorithm which can classify unknown spectra based on biochemical changes corresponding to disease onset. The Raman system was developed in progenitor projects, and could discriminate normal and abnormal cervical cytology samples based on the biochemical fingerprint of the cells with high sensitivity and specificity.
Dr. Lyng, together with her colleagues at the Radiation and Environmental Science Centre at the Focas Institute in DIT and collaborators at the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital aim to develop a second generation Raman system, Cervassist, capable of detecting both HPV infection and cellular abnormalities related to cervical intraepithelial neoplasia in exfoliated cervical cells on the same Thinprep slide.
Enterprise Ireland, who have funded the development of this technology for five years, awarded Dr. Fiona Lyng of Dublin Institute of Technology their 2011 “One to Watch” award for her role in the development of this innovation. Last updated 2015