Research projects funded in BristolBridge's first funding round

Interdisciplinary research: research scientists from the physical sciences, engineering and biomedical disciplines working together to help combat antimicrobial resistance.

Biomimetic antimicrobial surfaces to combat antimicrobial resistant infection

Bo Su (Oral and Dental Sciences), Angela Nobbs (Oral and Dental Sciences), Wuge Briscoe (Chemistry) and Paul May (Chemistry)

This project is aimed at developing novel antimicrobial surfaces based on biomimetic nanocones to combat bacterial infection associated with surgery requiring medical implants and prostheses.

This approach is inspired by nanostructured Cicada (Psaltoda claripennis) wings that kill bacteria through physical rupture of their cell walls http://www.nature.com/news/insect-wings-shred-bacteria-to-pieces-1.12533.

Unlike antibiotics, physical destruction of bacteria should not drive development of antimicrobial resistance. Su and colleagues are generating nanocone structures on clinically relevant materials and assessing their antimicrobial peformance.

Developing novel biocompatible and antimicrobial coatings for orthopaedic implants

John Tarlton (Veterinary Science), Tom Scott (Physics) and Tristan Cogan (Veterinary Science)

This multidisciplinary study is aimed at tackling the problem of antimicrobial resistance by developing 'smart' coatings for orthopaedic implants that promotes biointegration and are capable of eliminating bacterial infections before, during and long after implementation.

Up to 18 million hip and knee arthroplasties take place worldwide each year, with an estimated 100 million procedures undertaken for orthopaedic fixation and dental implants. Bacterial infections (commonly caused by Staphylococcus aureus) leading to orthopaedic implant failure occur in around 5% of cases, resulting in many millions of implants requiring revision due to infections each year.

Arthroplasty revision for infection usually involves two operations, separated by a course of local and systemic antibiotic for up to 3 months.

This project is aimed at developing a novel photocatalytic titanium dioxide (TiO2) based antimicrobial surface for use in orthopaedic implants capable of in situ decontamination without the need for revision surgery or the use of antibiotics which reduces antibiotic prescribing and the risk of developing antibiotic resistant strains of S. aureus.

A sustained delivery chlorhexidine gel for prevention of umbilical cord infection in developing countries

Michele Barbour (Oral and Dental Sciences), Jeroan van Duijneveldt (Chemistry) and Jim Spencer (Cellular and Molecular Medicine)

Umbilical cord infection has a devastating impact in developing countries, and is responsible for many newborn deaths.

It is reported that 400,000 deaths of newborn babies per annum can be attributed to infection in the first few days of life. While this is not a new problem, there is increasing incidence of antibiotic resistant bacteria meaning that antibiotic?-based? strategies are likely to become less ?successful, and incidence in the developed world may ?also increase.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends application of chlorhexidine, a common biocide, to the umbilical cord daily for 7 days post-partum in vulnerable communities. However, it is very difficult for healthcare workers and volunteers to achieve this in remote and/or traditional communities.

We propose to use a sustained chlorhexidine release material, developed at and patented by the University of Bristol (Barbour), to generate an antimicrobial environment for the required period but with a single, gel?-based application.

Barbour and colleagues will formulate the chlorhexidine material into a gel form using the formulation expertise of a physical scientist (van Duijneveldt) and test the efficacy of the gel against clinically relevant antibiotic-resistant microbes in the laboratories of a microbiologist with a particular interest in antibiotic-resistant species? (Spencer).

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