MNP Seminar: Dr Sebastian A. J. Zaat, University of Amsterdam

Dr Sebastian A. J. Zaat, of the Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, will be presenting a seminar on his research. All are welcome to attend.

Biomaterial associated infections; How to make them vanish into thin air Infection of inserted and implanted medical devices (biomaterials) is a major problem in modern healthcare, with staphylococci as a major cause of these biomaterial-associated infections (BAI).

BAI involves biofilm formation by the pathogens on the implants, and in applications in tissue also of colonization of this surrounding tissue and even persistence inside the host cells. Persistence within host tissue is related to a local disturbance of the host immune response due to the biomaterial.

For prevention of BAI there is an urgent need for novel antimicrobials capable of eliminating antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria, even when they form biofilms. We developed novel synthetic antimicrobial and anti-biofilm peptides (SAAPs) inspired by the primary sequences of the human antimicrobial proteins Thrombocin-1 and LL-37. These novel SAAPs have potent broad spectrum activity, including multidrug resistant strains, do not induce resistance, prevent and eliminate biofilms and are effective in prevention and treatment of in vivo experimental biomaterial associated infections.

The SAAPs were also highly infective in skin biofilm infections. A single treatment with SAAP-containing hypromellose ointment completely cleared acute murine experimental skin infections caused by worst case pathogens MRSA and multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii. Together, our results indicate a strong potential for the SAAPs as drug candidates in the combat against multidrug-resistant biofilm pathogens.

In order to treat intracellular infections, we focus on introducing antimicrobials into host cells containing bacteria, and inducing release of these compounds into the cytoplasm using photochemical internalization. This way, we were able to rescue zebrafish embryos from lethal infection. In various public-private research consortia we are developing novel biomaterials with optimized immune response induction and infection resistance through chemistry, topography, and controlled release coatings for SAAPs and other antimicrobials. These strategies are combined in the EU ITN training network PRINT-AID, which aims at utilizing 3D-printing to manufacture safe, antimicrobial implants for diverse clinical applications.

Dr. Sebastian A.J. Zaat is Principal Investigator of the research line “Biomaterial-associated infection and novel antimicrobial strategies” of Amsterdam UMC. His research is focused on pathogenesis, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of biomaterial-associated infections, both in soft tissue (catheters, surgical meshes) and bone (implants, fixation devices).

All are welcome to attend. If you would like to meet with the speaker, please contact Dr. Zhan Ong.