Pupils engineer chip to fight lung disease

High school pupils have advanced a research project involving Edinburgh scientists by designing a component of a system to help fight lung disease.

The team from Liberton High School in Edinburgh worked with experts to design and test a chip for use in a new medical imaging system that is under development.

Chemical sensors

Their design will allow chemical sensors to be developed for use in a major research collaboration called PROTEUS.

PROTEUS aims to build a medical device that will improve the diagnosis of lung disease in critically ill patients.

Lab visit

The pupils visited laboratories at the University of Edinburgh to see the PROTEUS research in action after receiving an award for their design.

They developed the idea for the chip after taking part in an engineering workshop led by researchers from Heriot-Watt University and funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering.


Their invention is based on a concept called ‘microfluidics’, which allows for the manipulation of liquids in channels the size of a human hair.

The pupils have gained a tremendous insight into the work of engineers and how many disciplines have to work together in science. To hear the pupils talking to the engineers about microfluidics was a joy. They quickly grasped the possibilities and came up with their own ideas.

Mr Bill HarrisTeacher, Liberton High School


PROTEUS is a collaboration between the Universities of Edinburgh and Bath, and Heriot-Watt University. The £11.5 million project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).