Our Work

Antimicrobial resistance profiling of low-abundance pathogens in biofluids

Isolation and identification of bacteria from bacteria-infected blood are often hindered by extremely low abundance (~1-5 CFU/ml) and presence of large molecular and cellular backgrounds, so bacterial diagnosis has been mainly dependent upon blood culture followed by phenotypic assay. However, culture analysis takes a long time (more than 48 hours) during which indiscriminate use of broad-spectrum antibiotics lead to increased antibiotic resistance and collateral damage to normal gut fauna with adverse effects. Rapid assays to detect pathogen directly from blood have been reported, but these assays have limited sensitivity and specificity due to host contamination, and can only target a limited panel of pathogens, so they have yet to be successful in changing clinical practice. We would like to address this problem by proposing a rapid, culture-free workflow for identification of a wide range of bacteria from blood with very low abundance of bacteria, which is made possible by use of our spiral microfluidic sorter and novel digital PCR technology.