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Microsystems for the monitoring of Bacterial Response to Therapy (microBRT)

Helen Bridle, David Watson, Marc Desmulliez, Maiwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas
Antibiotic resistance is a pressing issue in healthcare. We will address this with a new diagnostic concept and device. The device will use the response of bacterial pathogens to antibiotics in vivo at the mRNA level as a marker to guide antibiotic therapy of blood stream infections. Specific mRNA biomarkers were discovered and validated in other programmes at the University of Edinburgh. The final diagnostic device, beyond the scope of this project, should perform all necessary steps for mRNA detection, from sample to answer, at the point of care, integrated into one microfluidic device. The most challenging part in this process is the isolation of bacteria/mRNA from clinical specimens. Heriot Watt University has a proven track record in microfluidics, including nucleic acid isolation from blood. This study will investigate the feasibility of these technologies for the bacterial mRNA isolation, assessed by whole genome transcriptomics, directly from whole blood.