MSc in Biotechnology
Dissertation Project – 2nd Cycle
Aprovado pela CC do MBiotec em 13-05-2015
Student´s Name:
Sofia Isabel Batista da Silva
Student email address: [email protected]
No. 44832
Supervisor(s): Susana Gaudêncio, Rita Sobral, Pedro Almeida
Supervisor(s) email address: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]
Lab/Institution: LAQV and [email protected], (Lab202, DQ; Lab 333, DCV) and Lab. Materiais
Poliméricos e Mesomorfos, DCM, FCT, UNL
TITLE: New marine natural products (NPs)-derivate polymeric composites with anti-biofilm activity
against MRSA highly resistant strains.
Microorganisms usually prevail in the form of biofilms, not only in natural environments but also in
industrial and hospital settings. Biofilms are static microbial communities that adhere to a solid surface
and are surrounded by a self-produced extracellular matrix, composed of polysaccharides, proteins
and extracellular DNA. In the clinical settings, adhesion of human and veterinary pathogenic bacteria
to the host tissue is the first step in the formation of the biofilm and in the infection process. One of
the major players and leading cause of hospital-acquired infections is Staphylococcus aureus, famous
for its capacity to accumulate antibiotic resistance traits (MRSA strains). This bacterium also has the
capacity to form strong biofilms on indwelling medical devices that are extremely difficult to eradicate,
as the matrix protects the biofilm-associated bacteria from antimicrobials and from the host immune
system. Antimicrobial natural products (NPs)-derivate polymers may have several applications: a)
water soluble polymeric composites with the ultimate goal of acting as antimicrobial band-aids for
burn wounds, b) water insoluble polymers, for coating purposes to use in several industries as
antimicrobial coatings (e.g. aquaculture tanks and nets).
New NPs-derivate materials, capable of blocking biofilm formation, are urgently needed to fight the
emergence of antibiotic resistant biofilm-proficient pathogens. We have available a library of marine
actinomycetes compounds with antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity. The goal is to include these
compounds into polymers, producing composite materials, evaluate their mechanical properties and
bioactivity against MRSA.
MSc in Biotechnology
Dissertation Project – 2nd Cycle
The proposed project is within the scope of microbiology and natural products organic chemistry. The
work will take place in the Departments of Chemistry, Materials Science and Life Sciences, lab. 202, lab.
333 – (LAQV and [email protected]/FCT-UNL) and Lab. Materiais Poliméricos e Mesomorfos, DCM.
The Work Plan of this project will include:
1. Marine bacteria culture and crude extraction.
2. Antimicrobial compounds isolation by flash column chromatography followed by HPLC.
3. Antimicrobial compounds mixture with various percentages of at least two different types of
polymers: water soluble and water insoluble.
4. Characterization of mechanical properties of the marine NPs-derivate polymeric composites.
5. The bioactivity effect of the NPs- derivate polymers will be assessed using a panel of antibiotic
proficient MRSA strains.

MSc in Biotechnology Dissertation Project – 2nd Cycle Aprovado