This project will focus on developing novel self-cleaning coatings for urinary catheters using a combination of bio-inspired technologies to combat infections and associated complications. Successful application of the new coatings would generate a transformational impact that can improve the quality and extent of life for millions of patients.
The high incidence of catheter-associated urinary tract infections and encrustation has a severe impact on human health and health care costs. The root cause lies in the early onset of contamination where bacteria can adhere and migrate along the catheter surface into the bladder leading to severe complications. Inspired by nature, we first presented a mussel-inspired superhydrophobic technology in combination with an optimum surface energy concept to solve this problem, which has been successfully validated by experiments, giving a clear direction for the future design of anti-infection urinary catheters. In this project, in order to further improve patients’ comfort, we aim for the first to combine our superhydrophobic techniques with a nepenthes-inspired self-cleaning concept to specifically design a lubricating and anti-infection coating for urinary catheters. The objectives of this project will include:
(1) synthesise and characterise novel silver-based hybrid particles with optimal bactericidal activity;
(2) incorporate the hybrid particles into the superhydrophobic coating and convert it to the nepenthes-inspired self-cleaning coating with optimal surface energy;
(3) assess the coatings in terms of antibiofilm activity, anti-encrustation activity, mechanical durability, lubricity and cytotoxicity.
This project will provide extensive experience in materials sciences, surface engineering, microbiology and cell culture techniques.