Italian chemists help Plymouth science lab work on food allergy test


By WILLIAM TELFORD, Business Editor/Plymouth Herald

Knight Scientific

Dr Jan Knight, left, with Tellus College’s Italian students Maria, Luca, Eugenio and Belgin

 A PLYMOUTH laboratory has been carrying out ground-breaking research with the help of four Italian students on work placement.

Wolseley Business Park-based Knight Scientific has been making a name for itself with its sports science, winning The Herald’s Business Award for innovation last year.


And its cutting-edge work has been aided by the input of our Italian chemistry graduates, who spent 10 weeks at the lab.

The students, all provided by Mutley Plain-based Tellus College under the 14.7billion-euro European Union-funded Erasmus+ programme, are proof that no matter how high-tech and specialist a company is, it can still benefit from the EU programme.

“They were great, and they really appreciated having the opportunity to work on a research project,” said Dr Jan Knight, managing director of Knight Scientific. “We are working on a new test for food intolerance.


“I gave them a specific project, which needed to be directed to a commercial product and to be reproducible.

“They contributed a lot to our research and we will be building on that.

“By working as a team they made quite a dent.”

The four students were aged in their 20s, the eldest being 28. All were graduates, with two having higher, masters, degrees.

“They were all very bright,” Dr Knight said. “We learned a lot and they learned a lot – science is an international culture.”

The Italians were not the first students Knight Scientific received on placement through Tellus College.

The company also works with Plymouth schools to give experience to science-minded students.

Knight Scientific has recently returned from a major international football medicine conference in London.

The company attended the Fifa Football Medicine Strategies conference alongside 1,800 of the world’s leading sports science experts to discuss soccer stars’ physical and mental wellbeing.

The conference opened the door for Knight Scientific to enter talks with the Irish Football Association, and Italian giants AC Milan, with interest shown from 2014 European champs Real Madrid, Liverpool and Everton, Sheffield United, Nottingham Forest and Cricket Australia, among others.

The firm’s ABEL-Sport Overtraining Test predicts if athletes are in danger of injuring themselves through taking insufficient rest or over-training, and can also detect the early stages of an infection.

Knight Scientific has been working with Plymouth Argyle, and was involved in testing players before the club’s heroic, but ultimately doomed, bid for League Two play-off glory.

It has also been working with another play-off contender, the Championship’s Brentford, who also just missed out on a Wembley visit.

Meanwhile, Knight Scientific has engaged Ian White, a University of Exeter masters student from Plymouth, to work with top cyclist Alex Dowsett, who has just broken track cycling’s world hour record by 446 metres.

Mr White will assist Mr Dowsett, who rides for the Movistar team, as he bids for Tour de France glory this year.

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