BioSIM Welcomes a New PhD Student, Mariana Sousa

BioSIM welcomes a new PhD Student, Mariana Ferreira de Sousa. Mariana will develop her PhD studies at FEUP, with the supervision of Prof. Manuel Simões (FEUP) and the co-supervision of Dr. Anabela Borges (FEUP) and Dr. Sérgio F. Sousa (BioSIM). She is a PhD Student of the PhD Program in Chemical Engineering (FEUP) and her thesis will focus on Biofilm control in healthcare settings with phytochemical-based disinfectants.

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) remain a major public health challenge due to the spread of multidrug-resistant bacteria and the persistence of bacterial bioburden on surfaces following the use of inappropriate biocides. Phytochemicals have already demonstrated antimicrobial potential when used alone and as potentiators of less effective biocides. Evidence show that phytochemical can be used when bacterial resistance mechanisms render conventional interventions. They are an attractive source of environmentally friendly and widely available new antimicrobials with low levels of cytotoxicity, corrosion and environmental toxicity. Motivated by these prominent aspects, this project aims to evaluate the potential of phytochemicals, as single products and in combination with in-use biocides, to control HAIs. As bacterial biofilms are the leading example of antimicrobial resistance, the phytochemicals will be tested on their ability to control biofilms. Experimental data will be complemented with in silico analysis and predictive models to develop novel and effective strategies for healthcare disinfection.