KNOW-FLOW: A low-cost programmable blood flow system


The aim of the project is to design and build a low-cost programmable system for flowing liquids through a network of tubes. The flow speed and direction, and fluid mixing via additional injection sites, will be controlled and monitored using a touchscreen interface connected to a peristaltic pump and a 3D-printed syringe pump. Moreover, the touchscreen will have the option for adjustment and display of fluid properties measurable using a pH/pO2/flow sensor array. This will enable control and monitoring of dynamic processes such as changes in blood oxygenation for study of various conditions including sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia. It will also be possible to artificially perfuse an ex vivo organ such as the mouse or rat liver. In addition, the flow system will be suitable for integration into an imaging device, such as an optoacoustic tomography (OT) scanner, allowing the device to be calibrated for accurate measurements of flow and fluid properties.

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The Team


Joanna Brunker CRUK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge
Jo is a postdoctoral research fellow with a PhD in measuring flow using optoacoustics, so will contribute to the design of the flow setup and subsequent testing in an optoacoustic scanner.


ŸMarcel Gehrung CRUK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge
Marcel is a German Masters student studying for six months in Cambridge. He has a background in programming, machine learning, and cell biology, so will help to program the flow system and analyse the multi-parametric biological data.


Ÿ James Joseph Department of Physics, University of Cambridge
James built optoacoustic imaging systems during his PhD, and is characterising imaging system stability for his postdoctoral research. He will therefore contribute to the design and engineering of the flow system and reliability testing. James also has experience with 3D printing.

ŸCalum Williams Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
Calum’s post-doc follows his PhD in optical engineering, in which he fabricated and characterised various optical devices. He will contribute to 3D printing, programming, and optical sensing.


Ÿ Alasdair Russell CRUK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge
Al is Head of Pre-Clinical Genome Editing at the CRUK Cambridge Institute. He has a PhD involving haematology, so will contribute expertise on blood properties, help to analyse blood measurements, and direct the development of the flow system for additional haematological applications.

Project Outputs

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Project Report

Project report and documentation on Github


Project Proposal

Original proposal and application


Project Resources

Hardware Schematics

Bill of Materials

Software Code