The emergence of drug resistant bacteria has been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an emerging global health crisis. Antimicrobial polymers which mimic the structure of naturally accuring antibacterial peptides, represent a class of biocides that has become increasingly important as an alternative to existing biocides and in some cases even to antibiotics. The working mechanism of the large number of structurally different polymers is often not fully understood however usually involves the disruption of the bacterial membrane (See Figure). Importantly there is evidence that their is a low potential of building up resistant microbial strains. In this project the candidate will synthesis a range of antibacterial polymers [1,2] which will be assembled into nano-scale objects. Their antibacterial activity will be assessed against a range of clinically relevant bacterial strains.
The candidate will gain experience in the lastest polymerisation and materials characterisation techniques, experience in antibacterial assays and their interpretation, and imaging techniques such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
1. Cationic Acrylate Oligomers Comprising Amino Acid Mimic Moieties Demonstrate Improved Antibacterial Killing Efficiency, Journal of Materials Chemistry B 5 (3), 531-536 (2017)
2. Antibacterial Low Molecular Weight Cationic Polymers: dissecting the contribution of hydrophobicity, chain length and charge to activity, RSC advances 6 (19), 15469-15477 (2016)