The Analytical Sciences Unit comprises a core staff complement and PhD students, as well as a varying number of short-term students and visiting workers.
Her PhD and early career was in applied molecular spectroscopy (infrared, Raman) and the design of novel sensors, including a patented probe head for infrared sensing using attenuated total reflectance. Subsequently she began to focus on quantitation using spectral data, and the emerging discipline of chemometrics – a branch of statistics particularly useful for handling the large datasets produced by modern analytical techniques. Applications of these methods have included several important food authentication issues – detection of adulteration in edible oils; processed fruits; meat products; coffee.
The arrival of ‘omics technologies in recent years has opened up new opportunities for the chemometrics specialist. Kate’s interests have expanded to include the application of multivariate statistics to many more high-dimensional data types. These include a wide range of spectral data types, especially those used in connection with metabolomics (NMR, GC-, LC-MS) and electrophoresis image data. She also has a long-standing interest in electromyography and the processing of digital waveforms. Most recently, her research has concentrated on treatments of data collected using low-field NMR spectroscopy.
Kate is author or co-author of around 80 peer-reviewed articles, as well as numerous conference proceedings, posters, book chapters and a textbook. She is a Senior Lecturer (Hon.) in the School of Chemistry at the University of East Anglia.
Grants won: Kate has been Principal Investigator on grants awarded by many different funding bodies (see below), including BBSRC, UKRC, MAFF, DEFRA-LINK and InnovateUK (TSB). She also works with industry via confidential consultancies – currently these can be arranged through IFR Extra Ltd.
- EU Framework 7 (2016 – 2018) Consumer and brand protection in complex foods from protein signatures using mass spectrometry
- Industry confidential (2017 – ongoing) Pattern recognition of spectral data
- NRP Translational Fund (2015 – 2016) Development of prototype infrared sensors for predicting dormancy breaking in potato tubers
- EPSRC Standard Grant (2015 – 2018) Collective of transform ensembles for time-series classification
- Walsh Fellowship (2014 – 2018) Non-destructive assessment of quality in fresh produce
- TSB-Spark (2013) Development of FTIR postharvest screening to discriminate between fresh and stored potatoes
- Technology Strategy Board (2012 – 2015) Data processing methods for automated nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis
- EU Marie Curie Studentship (2009 – 2010) High-throughput analysis of metabolic data in plant systems
- BBSRC (2005 – 2008) Bioinformatics tools and systems development
- DEFRA-LINK (2002 – 2006) Towards improved fermentation consistency using multivariate analysis of process parameters
- UK Research Councils (2004 – 2005) NIR tomography for internal imaging of chemical composition – a feasibility study on plant tissues
- Faraday Fast-track (2003) NIR tomography equipment grant
- Industry confidential (2002 – 2003) Fruit quality measurement
- Natural Resources Institute (2000 – 2001) Gas sensors for authenticating basmati rice
- MAFF (1998) A critical study to develop sampling plans for mycotoxins in cereals and cereal-derived commodities
- MAFF (1995 – 1998) Establishment of guidelines for the application of chemometric methods to food authenticity problems
I have 21 years experience in food science research. I spent 12 years at the Central Science Laboratory analysing organic contaminants in foods from packaging migration such as phthalate esters and acrylamide. I spent another 4 years at Cefas where I monitored the marine environments for organotins and brominated flame retardants. I also developed methods for the analysis of PAH metabolites in crustacean urine and fish bile and the analysis of paralytic shellfish poisoning in shellfish. Since arriving at IFR, I am responsible for the mass spectrometry facilities in the metabolomics group. I am involved in the team metabolomic projects, but also extend the use of the mass spectrometers to the proteomics and phytochemicals departments.
Kathryn Cross read Biology at the University of Hull, graduating in 2001. She then spent 4 years at the Public Analysts laboratories in Norwich where she managed the water chemistry laboratory, testing both potable water for suitability for drinking and effluent water for consent to discharge. Kathryn started at IFR in 2006 as an Assistant Microscopist, gaining expertise in preparing and imaging samples for both light microscopy and electron microscopy. Since 2011, she has taken over the running of IFR’s Microscopy department, producing images for numerous journal papers and front covers.