This is an interdisciplinary project involving additive manufacturing (3D printing), microbiology and tissue culture. In previous projects1, we developed 3D printed parts with inherent antimicrobial properties that can be printed into complex geometries and withstand sterilisation well. This work received widespread international publicity after publication (eg https://optics.org/news/11/1/34, https://bgr.com/2020/01/21/health-news-antibacterial-surface-3d-printing/). In this project, together we will build on this previous success by focusing on a specific medical application, namely the manufacture of antimicrobial surgical suture locks and external bumpers which are used in percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomies (PEG). This is a very common surgery to introduce enteral (‘tube’) feeding to patients with a wide variety of underlying morbidities, for example being unable to eat orally due to head and neck cancer. There are unacceptably high infection rates associated with the use of these devices which is especially concerning given the high number of these surgeries taking place every year. These devices therefore provide a relevant and high-impact case study to focus on. This is a translational project, and you will gain experience in techniques in different disciplines, from additive manufacturing and testing the mechanical properties of the devices, to measuring antimicrobial efficacy both in bacterial culture (including biofilms) and on an infected tissue engineered skin model.
Candidates must have a first or upper second class honors degree or significant research experience.
How to apply:
Please complete a University Postgraduate Research Application form available here: www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply
Please clearly state the prospective main supervisor in the respective box and select 'Clinical Dentistry' as the department.
Interested candidates should in the first instance contact Dr Joey Shepherd - [Email Address Removed]