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University of Bradford in Longitude success to safeguard antibiotics


A University of Bradford professor has won a Longitude Prize Discovery award in the hunt to maintain the effectiveness of antibiotics in the future.

The £10,000 award, to Professor Stephen Rimmer, is a stepping stone to further developing research work to compete for the Longitude Prize, a £10m prize fund that will reward a competitor who can develop a point–of–care diagnostic test that will conserve antibiotics for future generations and revolutionise the delivery of global healthcare.

In order to tackle growing levels of antimicrobial resistance, the challenge set for the Longitude Prize is to create a cost-effective, accurate, rapid and easy-to-use test for bacterial infections that will allow health professionals worldwide to administer the right antibiotics at the right time.

Professor Rimmer leads a research team focused on translating new technologies developed at the University of Bradford in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Its work is primarily based around smart materials responsive to specific pathogens. The technology has the potential for simple and rapid measurement whilst maintaining high diagnostic sensitivity and specificity.

Professor Rimmer and colleague Dr Tom Swift received the award at the Royal Society in London.

Professor Rimmer said: “About 6 years ago we made a very important breakthrough when we discovered that we could synthesise polymers that would respond to bacteria. Of course since then we have been developing ways to use this to detect infections. This is a really useful award for us that will take closer to producing a cost-effective device that anyone can use to detect infection and importantly to determine the type of infection.”

Since the first publication of these materials Professor Rimmer has undertaken several successful collaborations with the University of Sheffield and LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India. Further publications and announcements from the Polymer Biomaterials group should follow in the New Year.

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