Project title: Formulation of photo-sensitizers for the prevention and/or treatment of bacterial biofilms

Employer: University of Limoges (UNILIM, France), Cotutelle: University of Coimbra (UC, Portugal)
Supervisors: Dr. Stéphanie LHEZ (UNILIM), Pr Mariette M. PEREIRA (UC)

Research secondments: INSERM (UMR 1092, Limoges), Biolitec
Practical rotation: Selvita

Research project description and main objectives: The struggle against microbial infections, contaminations is a global issue with important societal impacts, especially with the continuous emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The development of new bactericidal materials to prevent bacterial colonization of surfaces in various environments (agro-food, medical…) represents a major challenge. In this respect, photodynamic antimicrobial chemotherapy (PACT) is a promising alternative approach to fight bacterial biofilm contaminations. In order to prevent the growth of planktonic bacteria and the formation of biofilms through PACT, it appears to be essential to investigate formulation/coating nature (films, powder, spray, encapsulation …), effect on the photosensitizer (PS) and efficiency in the photodynamic process.

This project will focus on the development of bio-inspired materials with suitable properties to be used as photodynamic drug formulations (light transparency, non-toxicity, stability …) and easy to process. Different approaches will be developed: coating surfaces with biocompatible polymers bearing a photosensitizer (cationic phthalocyanines and porphyrins) trapped inside or grafted.
The main objectives of this project are:
1. the development of new materials
2. chemical modification of the photosensitizers
3. evaluation of antibacterial properties on both planktonic bacteria and biofilms.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement n°764837