Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is one of the most significant crises in modern healthcare. 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.
My project takes a vital step towards filling this gap by combining synthetic biology with nanotechnology to generate a new detection system. I hope to link highly sensitive carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to the unique molecular signatures of BL proteins. To achieve this I will be engineering a protein called BLIP-II, that binds to a wide variety of BLs, to precisely interface with CNTs. By monitoring the conductance of CNTs, we hope to sense the BLIP-II--BL interactions.
TACKLING ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE BY COMBINING SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY AND NANOTECHNOLOGY: DEVELOPMENT OF NEW BIOSENSING SYSTEMS