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The University of Southampton
Global Network for Anti-Microbial Resistance and Infection Prevention

NAMRIP member Dr Sandra Wilks wins prize for Research Novelty

Published: 19 December 2017
Dr Sandra Wilks
Dr Sandra Wilks with prize for 'Research Novelty'

Dr Sandra Wilks was delighted to receive the prize for Research Novelty at the recent Institute for Mechanical Engineering (IMechE) conference 'Incontinence: The Engineering Challenge XI' in London. This was for 2 poster presentations by Sandra, including one on 'The use of micro-computed tomography and advanced imaging techniques to study crystalline biofilm blockages in urinary catheters'.

The work describes results from a NAMRIP pump priming project where the team used advanced imaging techniques to better understand biofilm-related urinary catheter blockages. Around 50% of long-term urinary catheter users will experience catheter blockages, usually caused by the presence of urease-producing Proteus mirabilis. Using episcopic differential interference contrast (EDIC) microscopy, Sandra tracked biofilm formation over time and has been able to describe key points in crystalline biofilm formation. Working with colleagues in Engineering and muvis, the team used micro computed tomography to show the structure of the blockage and begin to understand the interactions with the catheter material and surface, as well as the impact on flow dynamics.

The two-day conference highlights the latest engineering challenges, solutions, technologies and research managing the problem of incontinence. The programme included keynote talks by NAMRIP's chair Professor Tim Leighton and steering group member Professor Mandy Fader.   

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