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Bacterial infections: antimicrobial therapies

About

The Bacterial infections: antimicrobial therapies group is a junior group under IBEC’s Tenure Track scheme.

Infectious diseases constitute a tenacious and major public health problem all over the world. The emergence and increasing prevalence of bacterial strains that are resistant to available antibiotics demand the discovery of new therapeutic approaches.

Biofilms are bacterial communities that grow embedded within a protective matrix produced by themselves.

Also, chronic infections caused by bacteria growing in biofilms, are enormously complicated to treat. It increases their fitness and survival, thus complicating treatment and diagnosis because they persist despite the action of antibiotic therapies and adaptive immune responses.

Over 60% of all human infections are characterized by the formation of a biofilm, which is involved in a wide variety of pathological conditions by either growing over human tissues (Cystic Fibrosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, chronic wound, etc.) or by developing on the surfaces of medical devices (e.g. endotracheal tubes, intravenous and urinary catheters, etc.).

Our lab aims to investigate new antimicrobial therapies and strategies to combat bacterial infections with different objectives:

  • The use of nanomedicine techniques for the development of novel and specific nanoparticles to deliver existing antibiotics or new identify antimicrobial drugs, significantly when the bacteria are growing in biofilm, close to the physiological conditions of the disease and where the current chemotherapy fails;
  • The identification and screening of new molecules for the highly selective inhibition of new antibacterial targets (e.g. ribonucleotide reductases);
  • The use of nanomedicine techniques for the development of novel and specific nanoparticles to deliver existing antibiotics or new identify antimicrobial drugs, significantly when the bacteria are growing in biofilm, close to the physiological conditions of the disease and where the current chemotherapy fails;
  • To study new methodologies to treat chronic bacterial infections in patients suffering cystic fibrosis;
  • To develop a new family of antibacterial vaccines;
  • The development of new strategies for bacterial coculture systems;
  • To study and develop models for wound healing infections and the search of novel treatments;
  • The use of lab-on-a-chip technology to deeply elucidate mechanisms to combat bacterial forming biofilm as well as new approaches to identify multiresistant bacteria to different antibiotics.
  • To establish the molecular basis for the regulation of genes involved in DNA synthesis (ribonucleotide reductase genes), their importance in virulence and biofilm formation;

We believe these projects will be beneficial to society since we explore the use of different bioengineering approaches to elucidate ways to diagnose and eradicate multi-drug resistant bacteria.

Related links:

https://sites.google.com/view/torrentslabwebpage

Staff

Projects

NATIONAL PROJECTSFINANCERPI
combatRNR  Comprender la síntesis del ADN en patógenos bacterianos: nuevas estrategias para el tratamiento de enfermedades infecciosas (2019 – 2022)MICIU Retos investigación: Proyectos I+DEduard Torrents
BioVac Artificial bacteria: a novel generation of bioinspired vaccines(2020 – 2022)BIST Ignite ProgramEduard Torrents
FINISHED PROJECTSFINANCERPI
Terapias alternativas para el tratamiento de las infecciones bacterianas crónicas en pacientes con fibrosis quística a (2019-2021)Asociación Catalana de Fibrosis QuísticaEduard Torrents
Noves estratègies antimicrobianes per combatre la fibrosi quística (2016-2020) Obra Social La CaixaEduard Torrents
BiofilmChip  CaixaImpulse BiofilmChip (2018 – 2020)Obra Social La CaixaEduard Torrents
Desarrollo de una nueva familia de compuestos antimicrobianosAsociación Catalana de Fibrosis QuísticaEduard Torrents
Identificación y administración de nuevas moléculas antimicrobianas contra Pseudomonas aeruginosa creciendo en biofilmAsociación Española Fibrosis Quística, Becas de Investigación “Pablo Motos”Eduard Torrents
Novel strategies to combat bacterial chronic infections by the development of microfluidics platforms to analyse and treat bacterial growing in biofilms (2016)Obra Social La CaixaEduard Torrents
Redes reguladoras de la expresión génica de las distintas ribonucleotidil reductasas en bacteriasMINECO, I+D-Investigación fundamental no orientadaEduard Torrents
BACTSHOT Novel antimicrobial therapy (2016-2017)EIT Health Head Start – Proof of ConceptEduard Torrents
inhibitRNR Las ribonucleotido reductasas como una nueva diana terapéutica frente a patógenos bacterianos (2016-2018)MINECO, Retos investigación: Proyectos I+DEduard Torrents
Ribonucleotide reductasas: una nueva diana terapéutica contra organismos patógenos en enfermos de fibrosis quística (2010-2017)Asociación Española Fibrosis Quística, Becas de Investigación “Pablo Motos”Eduard Torrents
RNRbiotic New strategy to combat bacterial infections (2015-2017)Obra Social La Caixa, CaixaimpulseEduard Torrents

Publications



(See full publication list in ORCID)
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Equipment

  • Zeiss LSM 800 Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope
  • Nikon Inverted Fluorescent microscope ECLIPSE Ti-S/L100
  • Cell culture facilities for microbial infections
  • Characterization of nanoparticles/biomaterial antibacterial activity
  • Drosophila melanogaster and Galleria mellonella as a model host for bacterial infections
  • Continuous flow system model for bacterial biofilm development
  • Single Channel Fiber-Optic Oxygen Meter with microsensor
  • Molecular biology, biochemistry and protein purification facilities
  • Bacterial expression systems for heterologous protein production

Collaborations

  • Prof. Fernando Albericio
    Institut de Recerca Biomèdica (IRB), Barcelona, Spain
  • Dr. Elisabeth Engel
    IBEC
  • Dr. Esther Julián
    Dept. de Genètica i de Microbiologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
  • Dr. Joan Gavaldà
    Infectious diseases, Vall d’Hebrón Hospital and Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain
  • Prof. Víctor Puntes
    Inorganic nanoparticles group, Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnología, Barcelona, Spain
  • Prof. Josep Samitier
    IBEC
  • Prof. Santiago Vazquez
    Laboratori de química farmacèutica, Pharmacy Faculty, Barcelona University
  • Prof. Gabriel Gomila
    IBEC
  • Prof. Vladimir Arion
    Department of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Dr. Maria Teresa Martin-Gomez
    Division of Respiratory Bacteriology and Clinical Mycology. Microbiology Department. Vall d’Hebrón Hospital, Spain 

News

A new triple-acting antibiotic agent has managed to break through the biofilm extracellular matrix – a protective structure built by bacteria – and eliminate more than 50% of the pathogens … Read more

Breaking down bacteria’s protective armor to overcome antibiotic resistance

A new triple-acting antibiotic agent has managed to break through the biofilm extracellular matrix – a protective structure built by bacteria – and eliminate more than 50% of the pathogens … Read more

Despite its importance in the fight against pandemics such as COVID-19, a lesser-known face of nanomedicine is its potential to contribute to solutions to so-called rare or minority diseases. Coinciding with February 28th, the world day for rare diseases, experts invited by the Nanomed Spain platform and the Sant Joan de Déu Research Institute (IRSJD) present the latest advances in nanomedicine against three of these disorders: muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis and Fabry disease.

Nanomedicine seeks solutions against rare diseases

Despite its importance in the fight against pandemics such as COVID-19, a lesser-known face of nanomedicine is its potential to contribute to solutions to so-called rare or minority diseases. Coinciding with February 28th, the world day for rare diseases, experts invited by the Nanomed Spain platform and the Sant Joan de Déu Research Institute (IRSJD) present the latest advances in nanomedicine against three of these disorders: muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis and Fabry disease.

Researchers from the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), led by Eduard Torrents, leader of the group “bacterial infections and antimicrobial therapies” and professor at the University of Barcelona (UB), in collaboration with Josep Samitier, principal investigator of the group “Nanobioingineering” of IBEC, and Maite Martin, of the Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital appear in the media for the new device, called BiofilmChip, which allows a custom and precise diagnosis of chronic infections.

BiofilmChip protagonist in the media

Researchers from the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), led by Eduard Torrents, leader of the group “bacterial infections and antimicrobial therapies” and professor at the University of Barcelona (UB), in collaboration with Josep Samitier, principal investigator of the group “Nanobioingineering” of IBEC, and Maite Martin, of the Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital appear in the media for the new device, called BiofilmChip, which allows a custom and precise diagnosis of chronic infections.

IBEC researchers develop a device that allows to grow biofilms and analyze their susceptibility to different antibiotics in a simple way and using patient samples. BiofilmChip, a low-cost, easy-to-use diagnostic device, opens the way to finding effective and custom treatments against chronic infections produced by biofilms.

A chip against chronic bacterial infections

IBEC researchers develop a device that allows to grow biofilms and analyze their susceptibility to different antibiotics in a simple way and using patient samples. BiofilmChip, a low-cost, easy-to-use diagnostic device, opens the way to finding effective and custom treatments against chronic infections produced by biofilms.

A comprehensive review led by IBEC researchers from the “Bacterial infections: antimicrobial therapies” group highlights the clinical relevance of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa and its presence in bacterial biofilms.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms and their partners in crime

A comprehensive review led by IBEC researchers from the “Bacterial infections: antimicrobial therapies” group highlights the clinical relevance of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa and its presence in bacterial biofilms.

Eduard Torrents and his team present an alternative to experimentation with mice. The research proposes the use of waxworms to evaluate the toxicity of nanoparticles, which is also cheaper and more ethical. These insects allow us to model their possible nanotoxicity in a living organism.

An alternative to mice for toxicity testing

Eduard Torrents and his team present an alternative to experimentation with mice. The research proposes the use of waxworms to evaluate the toxicity of nanoparticles, which is also cheaper and more ethical. These insects allow us to model their possible nanotoxicity in a living organism.

A new study by IBEC’s Bacterial Infections: Antimicrobial Therapies and Molecular and cellular neurobiotechnology groups shows that Galleria mellonella larvae can be effective to test the toxicity of nanoparticles. This work thus paves the way toward a new animal model for toxicity studies that represent an inexpensive and more ethical alternative to rodent testing.

IBEC researchers propose a cheaper and more ethical model for toxicological studies

A new study by IBEC’s Bacterial Infections: Antimicrobial Therapies and Molecular and cellular neurobiotechnology groups shows that Galleria mellonella larvae can be effective to test the toxicity of nanoparticles. This work thus paves the way toward a new animal model for toxicity studies that represent an inexpensive and more ethical alternative to rodent testing.

Eduard Torrents, group leader at IBEC is interviewed in the radio program “Després del Col·lapse” of RTVE talking about his research on new therapies for infectious diseases in the face of antibiotic resistance.

Eduard Torrents talks about antibiotic resistance on the radio

Eduard Torrents, group leader at IBEC is interviewed in the radio program “Després del Col·lapse” of RTVE talking about his research on new therapies for infectious diseases in the face of antibiotic resistance.

A team of researchers from the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) has discovered that strains of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from patients are more persistent than laboratory strains and propose a molecular mechanism to explain intracellular survival. The study, published in the journal Virulence, finds that the class II ribonucleotide reductase enzyme (RNR) plays a key role in frequent lung infections, for example, those that occur in patients with cystic fibrosis.

Researchers identify a mechanism that explains the recurrence of many lung infections

A team of researchers from the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) has discovered that strains of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from patients are more persistent than laboratory strains and propose a molecular mechanism to explain intracellular survival. The study, published in the journal Virulence, finds that the class II ribonucleotide reductase enzyme (RNR) plays a key role in frequent lung infections, for example, those that occur in patients with cystic fibrosis.

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