Diagnosing hospital acquired infections using disposable plasmonic assays

Supervisor: Dr. Affar Karimullah 

School: Chemistry


Hospital acquired infections (HAI) are infections that are favoured by hospital environments and pass on to people visiting or working at hospitals. HAIs have a major impact on healthcare as they increase costs and higher probability of morbidity and death of visiting patients. Infections are not only related to viruses and pathogens that are in circulation around the general public but also antimicrobial resistant bacteria (AMR), also called ‘Superbugs’, that can be far more dangerous. HAI diagnostics requires easy sampling and diagnostic technology to mitigate the burden on hospital staff and provide rapid low-cost protocols for monitoring hospital environments.  

We have recently partnered with Pinpoint Medical Ltd to combine their air filtration prototype with our disposable plasmonics sensor platform to provide a diagnostic and decontamination solution for hospitals and public spaces. Our approach will make sampling of air borne pathogens simple and diagnostics easy in any closed space. This project will look to detect proteins from bacterial and viral pathogens (Staphylococcus aureus, Influenza A and SAR-CoV-2) using our disposable plasmonic biosensor platform that is now at TRL 6 (prototype/demonstrator). The research requires further evaluation of biosensing performance for various targets as well as evaluating new tools built for multiplexing (testing for multiple pathogens in single experiment) using previously optimised surface chemical modification strategies. The results will be compared with commercial test results collected by Pinpoint Medical Ltd. The work will be in collaboration with the Centre for Virus Research (CVR) which is one of UKs foremost research centres for microbiological sciences. Our results will assist in seeking additional funding towards commercialisation and investment.