Bridging the Gaps: Systems-level approaches to antimicrobial resistance
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Bridging the Gaps: Systems-level approaches to antimicrobial resistance


Smart pocket sensor for rapid diagnosis of urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Sidahmed Abayzeed (Engineering), Alan Huett (Life Sciences), Richard Smith (Engineering) and Matt Clark (Engineering)

The issue

Conventional treatment for urinary tract infections relies on the culturing of samples, a process which can take a period of several days. As a result of this delay and because of the risk to the patient’s health from a lack of treatment, doctors are often prompted to prescribe courses of broad spectrum antibiotics that are later proven to be unnecessary. The over-prescribing of broad spectrum antibiotics is contributing to the increase in antimicrobial resistance.

The research

Researchers at The University of Nottingham aim to develop a small automated instrument that will allow GPs and other health providers to recommend treatment at the point of care (i.e. in an average-length GP appointment).The proof of concept device will be created using surface plasmon resonance (SPR), a powerful tool for detecting low concentrations of biomolecules, combined with an array of binding receptors and utilising LED illumination. It has previously been shown to be possible to detect bacteria using SPR techniques but this has not been translated to real, culture-free, patient samples. Our researchers believe that the expertise and technology available within the Optics and Photonics Group in the Faculty of Engineering will allow them to exceed previous work in specificity and sensitivity.

The impact

The ultimate aim of this project is to create a tool able to rapidly diagnose urinary tract infections. Such a tool would reduce the burden on the NHS, with urinary tract infection incidence rates increasing as the average age of the UK population increases and testing currently involves expensive and labour intensive processes. This tool would reduce the burden on broad spectrum antibiotics, which are currently contributing to antimicrobial resistance.

If you are interested in finding out more about this research or about Bridging the Gaps please be in contact with Harry Moriarty in the first instance.

Bridging the Gaps: Antimicrobial Resistance

School of Mathematical Science
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 748 6317