The skin has an important role not only as a physical barrier against the external environment but it also functions as a sensory system and enables to regulate the body moisture and temperature. This protective barrier, however, can become compromised due to disease or trauma (cuts, puncture, etc) leading to wound infection. To promote the healing, wounds are covered with a dressing since they provide a breathable environment and keep them protected from dirt and microbial infections, which would cause inflammation and challenge the healing process. However, when clinical signs of infection are already present, the dressing itself is not useful unless it contains an active antimicrobial element.
Compared to commercial dressings, the larger surface area of microfibrous dressings enables efficient incorporation of drugs and nanoparticles. However, the increase of multi-drug resistance bacteria makes the use of metal ions a more interesting option since bacteria and viruses have not been reported to exhibit resistance.
The recently developed technology of 3D printing enables an efficient fabrication of microfibers in 3D and has numerous possibilities for the manufacture of wound dressings. Hot melt extrusion will be used to incorporate metal ions into the filaments that will be subsequently 3D printed to fabricate dressings. The antimicrobial efficacy of the dressings will be assessed using an in-vitro assay.
The mechanical properties of wound dressings are also important for an efficient application on the wounds. Not only their strength and extensibility are important but also their elastic properties since decohesion may occur If there is a large mismatch between the elastic properties of the wounded tissue and the dressing.
In this project, the effect of different parameters will be tuned to optimize the performance of 3D printed wound dressings.
This project is supervised by Dr. Sergio Gonzalez Sanchez.
Please note eligibility requirement:
· Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
· Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
· Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF21/EE/MCE/GONZALEZSANCHEZSergio) will not be considered.
Start Date: 1 October 2021 or 1 March 2022
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community.
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