Tackling antibiotic resistance by combining synthetic biology and nanotechnology: development of new biosensing systems

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: School of Biosciences


The project provides an opportunity to bridge the areas of synthetic biology and nanotechnology to address one of the most important areas of research: the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is one of the most significant crises in modern healthcare. The most widely utilised class of antibiotics (and therapeutics in general) are the beta-lactams, which include ampicillin, amoxicillin and methicillin. By far the main mechanism bacteria use to confer beta-lactam resistance is the production of beta-lactamases (BLs) that inactivate the antibiotic and thus removing its therapeutic value. A gap in modern antimicrobial treatment is a companion diagnostic for improving antibiotic use based on detecting the presence of key AMR markers.

Your studentship will take a vital step towards filling this gap by combining synthetic biology with nanotechnology to generate a new detection system. You will link environmentally sensitive electronic materials to the unique molecular signatures of AMR proteins. To achieve this you will engineer a protein called BLIP that binds to a wide variety of BLs so that it can interface precisely with the base sensing material, carbon nanotubes (CNTs). CNTs are incredibly useful sensing materials as their electrical conductance is highly sensitive and changes in response to local changes in environment such as protein-protein interactions.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M009122/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
2109382 Studentship BB/M009122/1 01/10/2018 31/12/2022 Rebecca Elizabeth Gwyther