Photonics CDT graduate wins second place in prestigious Trinity Bradfield Prize for her electronic sensor invention

Melanie Whitfield, alumna of the IPES CDT programme and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge, has been awarded second place in the 2023-24 Trinity Bradfield Prize. The competition run by The Bradfield Centre and Trinity College Cambridge explores new technology, ideas and innovation across a range of life sciences.

Mel’s invention, Compound Hound, won second place this year. The 'electronic nose’ sensor uses data analysis to detect food spoilage at different stages of the delivery chain. The aim of the technology is to identify the source of food spoilage before it can spread, thereby reducing food waste and the customer’s carbon footprint.

Diagram showing how the nose sensor can be implemented

Mel started developing the sensor during her PhD on the IPES CDT programme and is now working with a food distribution company in the UK to put it into practice and drive down food waste. Mel believes the technology also has potential for use in the medical field, specifically in neonatal wards to determine if a newborn is suffering from conditions like jaundice.

In addition to the £5K Trinity Bradfield Prize, Mel was given the opportunity to share her work with Nobel prize winner and Head of college of Trinity College, Cambridge, Sir Gregory Winter. Compound Hound has also been awarded first prize in the Darwin College Business Plan Competition.

About Dr Melanie Whitfield

Headshot of Dr Melanie WhitfieldMelanie completed her PhD in 2021 on the IPES CDT programme at the University of Cambridge. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge working on 'electronic nose' technologies. Melanie’s PhD research project was funded by EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Integrated Photonic and Electronic Systems (IPES CDT) (programme grant EP/L015455/1).

About the Trinity Bradfield Prize:

Published: February 2024
Image credits:
Photo of winners © 2023 The Bradfield Centre and Trinity College Cambridge.
Photo of implementation © 2023 Cambridge Enterprise.