Commercializing a new class of antibacterial surfaces: polymer graphene nanocomposites

The project is part of PESTBIN - Pioneering strategies against Bacterial infections, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovation Training Network (ITN), funded by the European Commission, Horizon 2020 Program.

Infectious diseases are predicted to rise in the next year due to antibiotic resistance. As a result, there is a pressing need for disruptive technologies to tackle this medical challenge. The EU-funded PEST-BIN project bridges academia and industry to deliver new diagnostics tools that can detect infection with the accuracy and speed required in a clinical setting. Proteomics analysis with the help of artificial intelligence will provide insight into the mechanisms of bacterial infection and unveil new targets for antibiotic development. Moreover, partners will employ nanotechnology loaded with antibiotics to tackle bacterial biofilms, an inherently difficult structure to penetrate with drugs.

The World Health Organisation named antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest threats to global health, predicting the advent of infections not responding to antibiotics. The humanity needs to pioneer disruptive technologies to re-gain the upper hand. To do so, PEST-BIN mobilized 5 universities, 3 institutes, a hospital and 5 private companies. We will fight infections with very diverse tools: from nano-engineering, antibiotic production, via proteomics-based diagnostics to big data analysis using artificial intelligence (AI). PEST-BIN will train ESRs in an interdisciplinary and intersectoral environment in these impact areas:

1) Diagnostics: Current diagnostic tools fail to meet the clinical requirements for high speed, throughput, accuracy, cost and simplicity of use. PEST-BIN will develop infection diagnostic kits based on graphene, that will be functionalized by receptors capturing infection biomarkers. Our chips will contain only pure carbon and biodegradable polymers – zero environmental footprint. They will be used as “plug-and-play” disposable chips with a micro-SD jack.

2) Infection mechanisms: MS proteomics has been extensively used to analyse infectious bacteria, but our understanding of infection mechanisms has not advanced much. PEST-BIN is taking two new directions: i) generate proteomics datasets more relevant, comprehensive and time-resolved and ii) use novel computational tools (based on AI) to analyse proteomics datasets. This will lead to new drug targets for development of antibiotics.

3) Killing biofilms: Dense extracellular matrix prevents drugs from reaching bacteria inside biofilms. This limited exposure enhances development of antibiotic tolerance. PEST-BIN will engineer magnetic nanoparticles (directed by magnetic field), spiked with antibacterial graphene coating which will be loaded with antibiotics. Such molecular “nano-weapons” will physically penetrate biofilms and ensure sustained delivery of antibiotics inside biofilms.

Partner organizations

  • University of Tübingen (Academic, Germany)
  • National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) (Research Institute, France)
  • Technical University of Denmark (DTU) (Academic, Denmark)
  • University of Gothenburg (Academic, Sweden)
  • University of Gothenburg (Publisher, Sweden)
  • Naicons Srl (Private, Italy)
  • University of the Balearic Islands (Academic, Spain)
  • Ruder Boskovic Institute (Research Institute, Croatia)
  • Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) (Public, France)
Start date 17/08/2021
End date 31/12/2024

Page manager Published: Wed 01 Dec 2021.