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Plasma activated liquids for the high-level disinfection of flexible endoscopes

Project Description

Research project: The use of flexible endoscopic devices has become a major feature of modern clinical practice, both for diagnostic applications and surgical interventions. Annually, between 15 and 20 million endoscopic procedures are conducted with reusable devices, worldwide. The nature of these devices makes them difficult to clean and disinfect effectively. Recent studies have identified gram-negative bacteria on 85% of disinfected colonoscopes, with between 55 to 100% of normally functioning scopes showing evidence of some biofilm formation. Such contamination presents a particularly resilient form of infection, posing a significant risk for the transmission of multidrug resistant pathogens between patients. Current endoscope reprocessing techniques are time-consuming, costly and often involve the use of hazardous chemical agents; however, it is the fact that such methods are ill-suited to eliminate biofilm contamination that introduces the potential for cross-patient transmission of infection, necessitating urgent development of a new approach.

To address this challenge, recent advances in the area of plasma-activated liquids will be further developed to realise a disruptive new endoscope decontamination technology. For the first time, plasma-activated liquids will be used to deliver a cocktail of highly reactive antimicrobial chemical species directly in to the matrix of biofilms located along the channels in modern endoscopic devices.

For more details on the research project please contact the supervisors

Please apply by sending CV and letter of application to Ms Diane Ashton

Training: The University of Liverpool is setting up a Doctoral Network in Technologies for Healthy Ageing to train the next generation of physical scientists and engineers to develop novel technologies and devices to address the challenges faced by older people and our clinical colleagues who work with them. It is structured around three healthy ageing challenges; prolonging independence, maintaining wellness and accelerating recovery.

All students will undertake a specific training programme in conjunction with their research project. A range of training modules have been designed to provide the student cohort with the high levels of scientific knowledge and engineering expertise needed for research and development of devices and technologies appropriate for the Healthy Ageing agenda. Through this approach our students will learn skills that will provide them with a unique advantage to develop technologies appropriate for this community and significantly enhance their employability in this emerging field. At the start of the programme students will have a masterclass session with a consultant in clinical geriatric medicine, a therapist and a social worker to introduce them to the challenges of the older person in the community through case studies. Each student will spend a week with a Consultant Geriatrician in clinics and community visits. This clinician will remain in contact with the student throughout their PhD in the role of a mentor to maintain the interface between their projects and the healthcare challenges. Innovative training sessions will ensure the training and research is grounded in real world challenges and have been constructed to provide Essential Transferable Skills and Subject Broadening Skills. The student will be a member of the Liverpool Doctoral College which provides further training opportunities over all three years of the PGR programme, and includes Inductions (general and safety), E-learning (e.g. Good Research Practice), seminars (presenting as well as attending), outreach opportunities and journal clubs.

Funding Notes

Studentships will be funded for 3.5 years covering the home fees and typical Research Council stipend.
Research Council Doctoral stipend levels and indicative fees for 2019
• National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2019/20 is £15,009
• Research Councils UK Indicative Fee Level for 2019/20 is £4,327

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