Contact Professor Sam Tothill

Areas of expertise

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biosensors & Diagnostics
  • Drug Discovery & Development
  • Food Safety
  • Nanomaterials
  • Nanotechnology
  • Smart Materials


Professor Tothill has a PhD in Analytical Biochemistry from Cranfield University, where she conducted original research in enzyme catalysis/ discovery and their application in biotechnology and diagnostics. She has an MSc in Microbial Biochemistry and was awarded the top student award for her BSc degree. She holds many visiting professor positions in Europe and China and has served as Academic Programme Director, Deputy Education Director, Associate Dean for the Faculty of Medicine and Biosciences, Director for the Sensors for Water Interest Group and Head of Cranfield Biotechnology Centre. Professor Tothill sits on several editorial boards for international scientific Journals and scientific committees and delivers several keynotes and invited talks each year at major international and European conferences and has been awarded a number of prizes for her research.

Current activities

Professor of Bio-Nano Sensors, Head of the Bio-Nano Sensors Group. Professor Sam Tothill’s current interests centre on the development of biosensors and diagnostics devices, with research covering the Health, foods and environmental sectors.

Prof Tothill research is focused on signifying the analytical advantages of interfacing inorganic transducer surfaces and biological/biomimics/synthetic species at the micro and nano level. This has led to the fabrication of a range of electrochemical, micro-electromechanical and optical sensor platforms and Lab-on-a-Chip devices for disease prevention and detection. The application of nanotechnology in the design and manufacturing of novel sensing system and Nano- receptor molecules such as molecular imprinting polymers (NanoMIPs) and peptides is her current research interest.  Her work  cover analysis of microbial contaminants and pathogen's (bacteria, viruses, fungi) and their toxins such as mycotoxins, cyanobacterial toxins and endotoxins, disease biomarkers (eg. cancer, cardiovascular, infectious  disease and others) for point-of-care testing and diagnosis. She also work on the detection of heavy metals, drugs, allergens and chemical contaminants in food, the environment and biological fluids.  


Professor Tothill’s expertise has been explored with a range of business clients nationally and internationally. Current and recent research has been supported by BBSRC, DEFRA, Oxoid Ltd, Unipath, BRE, EA, MIRO, WRAP, the Institute for Medical Research and MARDI (Malaysia), Tupperware (USA), DuPont Ltd. (UK), Sierra Sensors (Germany), Philips Ltd. (UK), Innovate UK, Unilever, the European Commission (FP5, 6 &7) and collaborative research with NHS partner Hospitals (Bedford and Gloucester).


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers


  • Altintas Z & Tothill IE (2016) Health care: nanomaterial applications in healthcare diagnostics. In: Concise encyclopedia of nanotechnology. Kharisov BI, Kharissova OV, Ortiz-Mendez U (ed.), CRC Press, p. 317-329.
  • Fakanya WM, Altintas Z & Tothill IE (2013) Biosensors for the diagnosis of heart disease. In: Biosensors and Their Application in Healthcare. Dilsat Ozkan-Ariksoysal (ed.), Future Science, p. 128-143.
  • Tothill IE (2011) Emerging bio-sensing methods for mycotoxin analysis. In: Determining mycotoxins and mycotoxigenic fungi in food and feed. De Saeger S (ed.), Woodhead Publishing, p. 383-408.
  • Tothill IE (2009) Peptides as Molecular Receptors. In: Different Recognition Receptors used in Biosensing, Springer.
  • Tothill IE (2009) Advances in the development of toxicity sensors. In: Sensors for Chemical and Biological Applications, Taylor and Francis.
  • Tothill IE (2006) Microbiological Risk and Anlysis Issues in Water. In: Water Contamination Emergencies: Enhancing Our Response, Royal Society of Chemistry; 1 edition.
  • Tothill IE & Magan N (2003) Rapid detection methods for microbial contamination. In: Rapid and on-line instrumentation for food quality assurance, Woodhead Publishing, p. 136-160.
  • Tothill IE & Turner APF (2003) Biosensors. In: Encyclopaedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Academic Press, p. 489-499.
  • Tothill IE (2003) On-line Immunochemical Assays for Contaminants Analysis. In: Rapid and on-line Instrumentation for Food Quality Assurance, Woodhead Publishing Limited.
  • Tothill I (eds), (2003) Rapid and on-line instrumentation for food quality assurance, Woodhead Publishing Limited.
  • Tothill IE, Piletsky SA, Magan N & Turner APF (2001) New biosensors. In: Instrumentation and sensors for the food industry, Woodhead, Cambridge, p. 760-775.
  • Tothill IE & Stevens S (2001) Biological Methods (Chapter 9). In: Analytical Methods for Environmental Monitoring, Pearson Education Limited.