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Methods to Understand and Prevent Biofilm Progression

by | Mar 31, 2022

Date – From June 02, 2022 to June 02, 2022
Start Time – 10:00 am
End Time – 11:00 am
For more information contact – enquiries@lancaster.ac.uk
Venue – Online Webinar Session

​​About this Event

Biofilms are complex structures that adhere to surfaces regularly in contact with water and consist of colonies of bacteria and other micro organisms that can form on solid or liquid surfaces as well as on soft tissue in living organisms, causing disease.

Bacteria exist in two forms: the planktonic state and the biofilm state. The latter is the favoured state and is defined by the irreversible attachment of bacteria to any surface. Due to the complex and nutrient-rich extracellular matrix (ECM) that develops around the bacteria, biofilms are extremely resilient to disinfection and external stressors.

Their impact is highlighted in healthcare, where these microenvironments can cause intractable contamination: biofilm development in a wound can lead to chronic infection with biofilm infections responsible for approximately 80% of all human infections.

Complete treatment is increasingly challenging as many bacteria now demonstrate antimicrobial resistance (AMR); in fact, bacteria that live within a pathogenic biofilm are estimated to be 1000 times more resistant to antimicrobial treatments than the planktonic form. Biofilms facilitate AMR progression due to the close proximity and mixtures of strains present within the immediate environment.

Amy Crisp, a graduate researcher in the Materials Science Institute at Lancaster University is undertaking research to improve our understanding of the chemical composition of the biofilm using novel spectroscopic analysis and to evaluate plasma polymerisation as a realistic approach to produce coatings which can resist biofilm development in the wound bed.

In this webinar she will discuss the impact that pathogenic biofilms have on our healthcare system and the connection this has with antimicrobial resistance, explaining how spectroscopy can be used to differentiate between individual and biofilm bacteria and the options to combat biofilms using plasma polymerisation.

For example, coatings are suitable to reduce or inhibit the attachment of proteins, cells and living organisms to surfaces, a healthcare problem estimated at $400 bn pa worldwide.

Alternatively, coatings can introduce metal centres and selective absorption sites, improving catalytic performances of a wide variety of surfaces.

However, layers of organic molecules are fragile and require stabilisation to survive the interaction with the environment. It is especially relevant to catalysis, as chemical reactions occur potentially in harsh conditions. In biological environments, stabilisation is needed for the coating to survive exposure to liquids, different temperatures, biomolecules and living organisms.

In this webinar, Alessio Quadrelli, a graduate researcher at Lancaster University’s Materials Science Institute & Department of Physics will discuss polymerisation approaches to functionalise surfaces with nanoscaled polymeric coatings. He will also introduce the characterisation tools to investigate their chemistry and surface structure at the nanoscale.

About This Seminar

All materials have interfaces. These include the outermost surface, which interacts with the local environment, or they may be between two components buried with a structure’s bulk. Most real-world materials and devices are complex, multi-layered structures with many interfaces and the properties of these interfaces can disproportionately dictate the structures performance.

All interfaces are governed by the physical and chemical properties of just a few nanometres of material, and understanding these ultra-thin regions is essential to many challenges in materials design, development and quality control.

Researchers at Lancaster University are world-leaders in the fabrication and characterisation of thin films which can modify materials interfaces. This seminar will give an overview of the state-of-the-art characterisation capabilities available through GISMO at Lancaster University to map the mechanical, electrical and chemical properties of material interfaces. Attendees will also learn from examples where an interface’s properties have been modified by inclusion of tailored ultra-thin films and case studies of previous industrial use.

GISMO is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Who is it for?

  • Businesses that want to work towards proactively preventing biofilm production, implementing coatings to permit anti-biofouling properties
  • Anyone looking to improve the understanding of the chemical composition of the biofilm throughout each stage of production
  • Cheshire and Warrington SMEs that want to improve the use and performance of materials in their products and processes.

Why Attend?

  • Learn about the impact pathogenic biofilms have on our healthcare system and the connection this has with antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • Discover how spectroscopy can be used to differentiate between individual and biofilm bacteria
  • Understand the options to combat biofilms utilising plasma polymerisation
  • Find out how you can use the experts and specialist facilities at Lancaster University to develop anti-biofouling coatings for your materials and products – all fully-funded.

To register for the webinar session please visit our eventbrite page 

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The Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme is a consortium of North West based partners set up to deliver business growth activities across priority sectors from 2016-2023.

With a £3.85m investment of European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) matched by investment by the three partner Institutions, this innovative programme brings together three key business support providers across Cheshire and Warrington to offer businesses access to a variety of services.

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