Rapid point-of-care detection of Antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria
By 2050 it is estimated that 10 million people worldwide will die as a result of being infected with drug-resistant bacteria (Lord Jim O’Neil, 2014).
Bacteria which were previously susceptible to antibiotic treatment have evolved to develop resistance to commonly used antibiotics, rendering them ineffective to combat infection.
Now there are fewer antibiotics available to treat patients with certain infections.
Hence, there is a global drive not only to discover new antibiotics to combat these bacteria but also to develop new types of diagnostics that can help diagnose infection at the point of care.
My research focuses on designing low cost, rapid (five minutes!), the point of care nucleic acid-based biosensor assays for detection of AMR resistance genes and other pathogens that work within minutes from sample to result.
This research is multidisciplinary and encompasses the Engineering, Biology, Informatics and Chemistry disciplines.
Specifically, I utilise precision microwave engineering to liberate bacterial/spore DNA for pathogen detection.
I also design label-free biosensor assays using bioinformatics in aptamer design and in collaboration with materials science to explore the use of novel materials such as graphene within the assays.
A key part of this research includes integration into a prototype point of care device ready for commercial uptake. I have more than ten years of experience in the development of novel microwave-enhanced rapid diagnostics for microbial detection.
This work has been entered to compete in the Longitude Prize Challenge.