CAPPA Researcher Receives Over €500,000 in Funding for APTIMON Project - CAPPA

The Centre for Advanced Photonics and Process Analysis (CAPPA) is delighted to announce that their researcher Dr Maria Kotlyar received over €500,000 in Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Irish Research Council (IRC) pathway funding for her project APTIMON that received funding for four years. Dr Kotlyar received the funding under the highly competitive SFI-IRC Pathway Programme in which 53 projects were funded with 36 focusing on STEM areas. The APTIMON project focuses on a novel integrated photo-thermal spectroscopic method for monitoring bacterial growth and assessing antimicrobial effects.

The Advanced Photo-Thermal Interrogator for bacterial growth Monitoring (APTIMON) project focuses on the continuous monitoring of bacterial growth and is an essential process undertaken in academic research and clinical environments to provide valuable information on the nutritional and energy requirements of microbes, as well as to identify conditions that impact their survival and have an antimicrobial effect. A new trace gas sensor  will monitor the metabolic activity of bacteria via the carbon dioxide expired. The sensor is based on photo-thermal spectroscopy and will use a robust silicon based Fabry-Perot cavity to enhance light absorption and a photonic integrated circuit to read out the induced change in refractive index.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is responsible for 25,000 deaths per year in the EU., and infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria could become the leading cause of death by 2050. This problem is caused and aggravated by the overuse, misuse and abuse of antibiotics.. Rapid diagnostic tools are needed for determining the susceptibility of bacteria to antimicrobials. Current culturing measurements are indirect, large and slow. The key need is a technique that shortens the entire testing time carried out by staff with low cost equipment and minimal additional training.

Dr Maria Kotlyar, Project Coordinator said “The ultimate goal of this project is to develop an affordable, easy to use diagnostic tool to optimise the use of antibiotics in human and animal health.”

This project was one of two projects funded at CAPPA under the SFI IRC pathways funding. You can learn more about the other project here and more about the work CAPPA has conducted in the research sector here.