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  Develop novel biomimetic antibiofilm surfaces for medical implants

   School of Engineering

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  Dr Jinju Chen  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

It is estimated that biofilm infections cost about $94 billion p.a. in the United States healthcare system. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) which, in hospitals, are estimated to cause additional health‐care costs of £1–2.5 billion in the UK alone.    One of the major issues for biomedical devices is bacteria-induced infections arising from bacterial adhesion and subsequent biofilm formation on their surfaces. Currently, antimicrobial strategies for medical devices are dominated by coatings that release chemical agents such as antibiotics and silver ions to kill the bacteria. However, these chemical bactericidal strategies can contribute to the emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It is predicted that AMR will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined by 2050.  Thus, there is a pressing need to develop antibiofilm surfaces without using antibiotics or other antimicrobial agents.  

At present, the physics of bacteria-materials surface interactions remains poorly understood, which significantly hinders the innovative design for the next generation of anti-biofilm surfaces in biomedical devices. Therefore, in this exciting multidisciplinary project, we shall develop and manufacture novel biomimetic materials to prevent long-term biofilm formation while retaining biocompatibility which will tackle one of the most challenging healthcare issues.   

In this project, the state-of-art fabrication techniques will be used to engineering the materials. Typical infection-associated bacteria such as Staphylococcus epidermidis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa will be cultured on these materials. For the bacterial adhesion assay, surface coverage of bacteria will be quantified based on fluorescence microscopy, which will enable us to determine the attachment-inhibition for each surface. Biofilms will be grown for different periods on the surfaces and will be harvested and analysed by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Three-dimensional biofilm images will be generated, and the biofilm volume will be quantified. This will enable us to assess the durability of antibiofilm properties of the fabricated surfaces. Furthermore, these surfaces will also be tested against eukaryotic cells to examine their biocompatibility. 

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices. 

Application enquiries: 

Dr Jinju (Vicky) Chen, E-mail: [Email Address Removed]; 

Engineering (12)

 About the Project