While pathogenic bacteria contribute to a large number of globally important diseases and infections, current clinical diagnosis is based on processes that often involve culturing which can be time-consuming. Therefore, innovative, simple, rapid and low-cost solutions to effectively reduce the burden of bacterial infections are urgently needed.
A research team led by the University of Bath and including scientists from the University of Manchester has developed a sensor that enables the initial screening of pathogens in a fast and inexpensive way. The sensor uses field-effect transistors that can distinguish between pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria.
The work was led by Dr Pedro Estrela from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and focused on the detection of uropathogenic Escherichia coli strains responsible for the great majority of urinary tract infections.
Dr Pedro Estrela from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering who led the work said: "This fast, effective and inexpensive sensor can be used to support current clinical microbiology by providing high-throughput screening of pathogenic bacterial samples. Our technology can be easily implemented as an initial bacterial screening before further advanced investigations so that additional time and costs can be saved.
The large volume production of such chips will bring the assay price down, making it an attractive proposition for pathogen screening in point of care applications such as in hospitals."
The work has been published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics.
As part of a special "worldwide collection of articles" devoted to links with Brazil, the University of Bath highlighted the collaboration between Dr Pedro Estrela and the University of Sao Paulo: http://www.bath.ac.uk/case-studies/developing-biosensor-devices-for-better-cancer-diagnosis/
The article describes the collaboration between Dr Estrela and Prof Mulato on the development of novel biosensors for detecting early-stage prostate and breast cancer.
A sandpit event of the GW4 Biosensor Network took place in Cardiff on the 19th May with researchers from all 4 Universities. The sandpit was focused on healthcare applications and brought together researchers from very different scientific backgrounds.
Several ideas for new collaborative projects resulted from the sandpit.
The 1st GW4 Biosensor Network Workshop took place at the University of Bath on the 24th March. Around 40 researchers from the 4 GW4 Universities took part with a range of interesting talks and posters. There were several networking sessions which enabled the participants to know each other, discuss ideas and possible future collaborations.
Overall a very enjoyable and productive day!
We are pleased to announce that we have received a GW4 Initiator Fund award to create a GW4 Biosensor Network.
The GW4 Biosensor Network will bring together researchers from different disciplines with an interest on biosensors. Biosensors measure chemical or biological molecules in complex samples (e.g. blood, water, air) for a wide range of applications including medical diagnosis, monitoring of therapies, personalised medicine, drug discovery and water quality control.
Inherently, biosensor research is highly interdisciplinary with integration of knowledge between engineers, physical scientists, life scientists, clinicians and other end users to accelerate innovations that are informed and fit for purpose.
We aim to push forward biosensor research with biomedical, pharmaceutical, environmental monitoring and defence applications. Through collaboration, cooperation and integration there is an opportunity to make improvements in our level of commercial and clinical interaction, the quality of published outputs, and funding success rates.
The GW4 Biosensor Network expands our Bath Biosensor Network to the Universities of Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. We hope that this will enable establishing stronger links with our GW4 partners. A new website for the GW4 Biosensor Network will be created soon.
For details on the GW4 Biosensor Network, please contact:
University of Bath: Dr Pedro Estrela (P.Estrela@bath.ac.uk)
University of Bristol: Prof Mervyn Miles (M.J.Miles@bristol.ac.uk)
Cardiff University: Dr Niklaas Buurma (Buurma@cardiff.ac.uk)
University of Exeter: Prof Peter Winlove (C.P.Winlove@exeter.ac.uk)