Translate Summer Student Project blog: Antibacterial Gold Nanoparticle System

This post is part of a blog series about 13 short-term projects Translate MedTech funded in summer 2019.

These Translate MedTech-funded projects let researchers hire students during their summer break to help develop innovative new medical technologies with commercial potential.

Read these blogs to learn about the work they completed.

Student name: Will Abrams
Host organisation: University of Leeds
Name of project: Antibacterial Gold Nanoparticle System

I am a Natural Sciences student, majoring in Maths and Physics at the University of Leeds with a strong interest in the broad applications of nanoparticles. I have greatly enjoyed seeing how the material I’ve been learning about through my degree can be applied to develop and adapt a nanoparticle product.

Chronic wound infections are a significant and fast-growing global healthcare problem which is made worse by the widespread occurrence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The aim of my project is to develop novel polymer-coated gold nanoparticles for the controlled release of antimicrobial agents to improve the eradication of bacteria and biofilms commonly found in chronic wounds.

During the Translate Summer Student project, I worked closely with Dr Zhan Ong and George Newham in the Molecular and Nanoscale Physics Group to develop a simple one-step method to produce novel gold nanoparticles encapsulated by an organic shell.

The polymer-coated gold nanoparticles were successfully loaded with antimicrobial agents and could potentially be incorporated into wound dressings to provide an enhanced light-induced combination therapy to improve chronic wound infections.

This generous funding provided me with an opportunity to work in an exciting research field with such important medical applications. Importantly, I have also acquired valuable interdisciplinary research and science communication skills.

The findings of my research have provided an important proof-of-concept for the scalable and cost-effective production of drug-loaded polymer-coated nanoparticles which will help to progress this novel technology towards evaluation in preclinical models of wound infections.    

You can learn more about this project and others at Growing MedTech Translation 2019 on Friday 6 December 2019, where each Translate MedTech Summer Student Project lead will give a presentation about their work.