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    Bactericidal layer fights hospital acquired infections

    05.10.2017 10:44
    Chemist Karen Lienkmap receives 1.4 million euros for her project on anti-bacterial catheters and bandages Dr. Karen Lienkamp. Photo: Britt Schilling/FRIAS

    Dr. Karen Lienkamp. Photo: Britt Schilling/FRIAS

    Freiburg, Sep 18, 2017

    Germany’s Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funds Dr. Karen Lienkamp’s ANTIBUG project with 1.4 million over three years. In her project, Lienkamp aims to test the efficacy of a coating which could be used on catheters and bandages. This antibacterial coating is designed to prevent bacteria from adhering on the surfaces of such medical products. Afterward, Lienkamp plans a start-up or commercialization of this technology with partners in industry.

    Bacteria often contaminate the surfaces of medical products. These so-called biofilms can lead life-threatening infections, for example if they form on urinary catheters and cause urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections are among the most frequent hospital-acquired infections in Germany and not only cause suffering for the patient, but also lead to substantial additional costs for the healthcare system.

    Lienkamp’s new coating could help change that. It can be applied to various surfaces via a simple chemical process. When it comes in contact with bacteria it kills them. At the same time, it prevents protein deposition on the surface, and thus prevents biofilm formation.

    The German government is funding Lienkamp’s project via a grant program called VIP+ that supports technologically innovative and societally important projects in academic research. The aim of the program is to provide the funds needed to validate the practical feasibility and marketability of projects that have demonstrated promising results in the fundamental research phase. The University of Freiburg’s transfer coaching – a cooperation between Freiburg Research Services and the Start-up office of the university – significantly contributed to the successful grant for ANTIBUG.

    Karen Lienkamp studied Chemistry in Cambridge, England, and in Berlin and did her doctorate at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. Following a three-year period at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, USA, she came to the University of Freiburg, where she completed her habilitation in 2017. She heads the junior research group “Bioactive Polymer Synthesis and Surface Engineering,” which was funded by the Emmy Noether Program of the German Research Foundation. In 2014, Lienkamp obtained an ERC Starting Grant from the European Research Council worth 1.49 million euros to develop self-regenerating polymer surfaces. Lienkamp’s group is hosted jointly by IMTEK and the Freiburg Center for Interactive Materials and Bioinspired Technologies (FIT).

    Press release on Lienkamp's ERC Starting Grant

    Contact:Dr. Karen LienkampDepartment of Microsystems EngineeringUniversity of FreiburgPhone: 0761/203-95090E-Mail: lienkamp@imtek.uni-freiburg.de



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