Development of point of care detection of bacterial messenger RNA leading to rational antibiotic therapy guided by bacterial response to therapy

University of Edinburgh

Past award

Student: Johannes Brennecke

Year Award Started: 2013

Antibiotic resistance is a worldwide threat costing €1.5 billion per year in the EU alone. In addition, even if the bacterial pathogens are sensitive, antibiotic therapy fails in some cases. This can be associated with a discrepancy of in vitro and in vivo responses of bacteria to antibiotic therapy. Our previous investigations of this phenomenon indicated a change in response profile depending on treatment conditions. The condition bacterial pathogens are in (e.g. which virulence genes are activated, which antibiotic resistance mechanisms are activated) can be monitored via the detection of the gene expression status, using transcriptomics using DNA microarrays or next-generation sequencing technologies. Prompt initiation of appropriate antibiotic treatment and patient management strategies benefit hugely from rapid diagnostics. This project is embedded in the development of such devices and will build on existing MDx detection technology, with the aim of enabling the monitoring of bacterial response to therapy directly on the transcriptional level. It willinvolve research on the detection of mRNA biomarkers, nucleic acid isolation from patient samples and ultrasensitive detection technologies. This will be an important step towards an antibiotic treatment monitoring platform at point of care.

Research area: Infections, inflammation or immunology


Dr Till Bachmann
Division of Infection and Pathway Medicine
Dr Kate Templeton
Division of Infection and Pathway Medicine

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