Developing highly sensitive biosensors for MRSA bacterial detection

Nosocomial infection is a growing problem in Canadian hospitals, these bacteria can kill as many as 8,000 patients per year, and the expenses reach at least $100 million annually. Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) and methicillin‐resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are among the most common bacteria. For example, C. difficile has killed more than 600 people in Quebec alone between 2003 and 2005. The control of the spread of bacteria to multiple patients in hospitals and the efficacy of treatment will be improved with early detection of bacteria. The conventional methods used to determine the causative agent of an infection is bacterial culture that takes several days to obtain the results. Current attempts to prevent propagation of disease by pathogenic bacteria are therefore the subject of major research and efforts to develop techniques for rapid detection and the selection of appropriate treatment/therapy. Biosensor devices, in particular, are potentially the tools of choice for these purposes, and technological improvements in this area continue at a rapid pace. The general aim of the internship with Biophage Pharma Inc., a company focusing on the development and commercialization of agents to prevent and control antibiotic resistant infections and inflammatory diseases, is; 1) to develop a user friendly, rapid and reliable, phage‐based biosensor technology that responds to the current and future needs for detection of bacteria, 2) develop BioMEMS for phage selection against a wide variety of clinically useful strains of pathogen species to identify an efficient treatment. The novelty of this proposed research: is developing a miniaturized, rapid and specific Biosensor for bacterial detection. The biosensor will use the unique advantages of phages as biocapturing agents for rapid (in less than 3 minutes) and specific bacterial detection. This biosensor will have huge potential as it has many advantages over the existing technologies such as rapidity, specific, highthroughput platform, and highly miniaturized which can be used for in‐field applications.

Intern: 
Nancy Tawil
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Mohammed Zourob
Province: 
Quebec
Program: