Beyond Antibiotics: New Therapeutic Approaches for Bacterial Infections

Group: Bacterial infections: antimicrobial therapies and Nanoscale bioelectrical characterization
Group leader: Eduard Torrents (etorrents@ibecbarcelona.eu) and Gabriel Gomila (ggomila@ibecbarcelona.eu)

Research project

Bacterial infections remain a significant challenge to humanity that also has a considerable impact on all national health care system for its significant morbidity and mortality. This situation is becoming complicated by an increasingly ageing and susceptible population and large numbers of bacterial isolates, which have developed resistance to all antibiotics. Bacteria that form biofilms and colonize or infect medical devices or wounds are particularly hard to treat as biofilms are inherently highly antibiotic-resistant.

In our research groups, we aim to investigate new strategies and approaches to treating chronic bacterial infections by understanding biofilm biology, not only from the microbiology point of view but also analyzing the tissue and cell environment where the bacteria form biofilms. Also, we will use different research field techniques (microbiology, cell biology, nanomedicine, bioengineering, bioelectrical characterization, AFM, etc.) to find new methodologies based on nanomedicine to treat bacterial biofilms. Recently we have developed a method based on nanoparticles to disaggregate bacterial biofilms, and we are working in 3D systems to mimic the tissue environment for a bacterial biofilm growth to mimic the real conditions during infection. Basic studies in microbial physiology, new vaccines, molecular microbiology,

microfluidics applied to the microbiology diagnostic, new electronic biosensors and labelled free biological nanoscale characterization are also performed in our research groups.

Selected Recent publications (last 3 years):

– Lozano, H., et al. (2021). Nanoscale. In press.
– Pedraz,L., et al. (2020). FASEB J. 34:2912-28.
– Cendra, MdM and Torrents, E. (2020). Virulence. 11:862-76.
– Cendra, MdM. Et al. (2019). Scientific Reports. 9:16284.
– Boschker, HTS., et al. (2021). Nat Commun 12(1): 3996.
– Di Muzio, M., at al. (2021). J. Nanobiotechnology 19(1): 167.
– Checa, M., et al. (2019). Nanoscale 11(43):20809-19.
– Blanco-Cabra, N., et al. (2021). npj Biofilms and Microbiomes 7:62.
– Cendra, MdM and Torrents, E. (2021). Biotechnology Advance. 46:107734.
– Moya-Andérico, L., et. al. (2021). Chemosphere. 266: 129235.

Job position description

Development of multidisciplinary research on new therapeutic strategies to treat chronic bacterial infections from different research areas. The PhD student will learn skills in microbiology, bacterial genetics, cell biology, nanotechnology, biofilms, animal models of infections, electrical characterization, nanoscale, biochemistry, etc and will contribute to activities of both research group. The PhD candidate will commit adequate time and effort to the project and display initiative in identifying and resolving problems relating to the research.