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Combatting device-associated, healthcare-associated infections with innovative anti- biofouling, anti-blocking and non-resistance-promoting technologies

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  • Full or part time
    Dr N Irwin
    Dr C McCoy
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) constitute the most common infections acquired in healthcare settings, with a significant 50% of all UTIs associated with use of indwelling catheters. In addition to infection, up to 50% of catheterised patients experience recurrent catheter blockages, necessitating early and painful catheter removal, and making the high prevalence of catheter use a leading cause of illness, extended hospital stays, unplanned readmissions and additional healthcare costs.

Efficacious new strategies to prevent infection and blockage of indwelling catheters, which are almost identical to those introduced more than 80 years ago, are urgently needed and keenly sought by patients, clinicians and the catheter industry.

Through investigation of the antibacterial and anti-encrustation activities of alternative, non-resistance-promoting active agents, this interdisciplinary project will develop transformational new strategies to combat the escalating incidence of device-related infections, blockages, trauma and pain, thereby reducing the associated economic burden and ultimately improving healthcare globally.

Significant advances over conventional approaches are anticipated:

• Reduced incidence of infection and related problems of catheter blockage by encrustation.
• Avoidance of bacterial resistance problems.
• Reduced urethral trauma and pain, less frequent hospital admissions, and increased patient dignity and health.
• Cost-savings for healthcare providers.

A range of techniques and state-of-the-art equipment will be employed in this project for development of novel surface technologies and characterisation of the microbiological, anti-encrustation and tribological properties of new, coated polymer surfaces, with exciting opportunities to work with collaborators at the University of Leeds and present the work internationally.

Funding Notes

Fully funded.
100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and an annual stipend, currently at £14,553 (to be confirmed)

How good is research at Queen’s University Belfast in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?
Pharmacy

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.00

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

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