In order to tackle microbial biofilm related infection and to develop new 3D-printed personalised medical devices the early-stage researchers will work on research projects embedded in our four scientific work packages (WP):
WP1: Identification and characterization of anti-biofilm leads
The main aim of WP1 will be to identify and characterize novel anti-biofilm leads to be used on the printed devices and formulations that will be developed in WP2. The desired compound features for active leads will include: i) microbicidal activity and/or ii) prevention of biofilm formation. The starting collection will include known anti- biofilms that are currently being investigated such as Quorum Sensing Inhibitors (QSI) and Antimicrobial Peptides (AMP).
WP2: Development of 3D printed devices and formulations
The main aim of WP2 will be to design, prepare and characterize new formulations with antimicrobial functionality. For developing these, printing technologies will be exploited. New formulations will be directly applied to counteract BRIs in medical devices. Proof-of-concept endotracheal catheters and femur implants will be fabricated with 3D-printing incorporated antimicrobials. Alternatively, bioprinting will be utilized to coat 3D- printed devices. Based on in vitro functionality studies, the best candidate formulations will be chosen for WP3.
WP3: In vivo studies in biofilm models
The objective of WP3 is to demonstrate the in vivo antimicrobial activity of the 3D-printed devices and formulations developed in WPs 1 and 2. The best candidates will be selected based upon the results of the in vitro functionality tests described in WP2 earlier. Animal models remain indispensable to provide a more predictive outcome on the efficacy of antimicrobials. Although some models have been previously described, determining the optimal infection and monitoring conditions remain challenging, as no standard models are available.
WP4: Data integration and standardization
This WP4 aims at developing tools and documents that will promote the integration of the experimental data obtained in PRINT-AID, and ensure standardization of methodologies. All the data generated in WP1-3 will serve as a basis for the developed e-platform in WP4.