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Investigating the effect of nanoscale vibration cues on material surfaces for preventing bacterial adhesion

Project Description

All organisms respond to vibration, and bacteria are no exception. It is well established that external vibration can affect bacterial phenotypes, including surface adhesion, proliferation and virulence. Reported studies have shown that low-energy surface acoustic waves generated from electrically activated piezo elements [1] and vibrational loads generated by magnetoelastic materials [2] can modulate bacterial adhesion. However, how bacteria perceive and respond to vibration cues from their environment is still poorly investigated. A fundamental but unexplored aspect concerns how bacterial adhesion is affected by nanoscale vibration cues. Previous studies have provided evidence that nanotopographical cues (such as size and spacing of topographic features) have a direct influence on bacterial cell attachment.[3,4] However, such nanostructures behave as static interfaces. Thus, the question arises concerning the significance of providing such nanostructured interfaces with vibration to influence bacterial adhesion.
The aim of the project is to understand how bacterial adhesion is affected by nanoscale vibration cues in order to inform the design and development of high performance anti-fouling materials. The principal objective is to discover which nanofeatures and vibrational characteristics influence the adhesion of different types of bacteria, through the use of surface engineering technologies to fabricate well-defined dynamics of vibration on surface materials. Adhesion bioassays using a range of representative bacteria will test intrinsic anti-bacterial adhesion properties of the vibrational-responsive surfaces. Among other aspects, the project involves soft lithography, comprehensive nanomaterial characterization and bacterial bioassays.

Funding Notes

Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership - View Website


(1) Hazan, Z.; Zumeris, J.; Jacob, H.; Raskin, H.; Kratysh, G.; Vishnia, M.; Dror, N.; Barliya, T.; Mandel, M.; Lavie, G. Effective prevention of microbial biofilm formation on medical devices by low-energy surface acoustic waves. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 2006, 50, 4144-4152.
(2) Paces, W. R.; Holmes, H. R.; Vlaisavljevich, E.; Snyder, K. L.; Tan, E. L.; Rajachar, R. M.; Ong, K. G. Application of sub-micrometer vibrations to mitigate bacterial adhesion. J. Funct. Biomater. 2014, 5, 15-26.
(3) Epstein, A. K.; Hochbaum, A. I.; Kim, P.; Aizenberg, J. Control of bacterial biofilm growth on surfaces by nanostructural mechanics and geometry. Nanotechnology 2011, 22, 8.
(4) Cloutier, M.; Mantovani, D.; Rosei, F. Antibacterial Coatings: Challenges, Perspectives, and Opportunities. Trends Biotechnol. 2015, 33, 637-652.

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?
Chemical Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 32.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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