Self-assembled spheres of glass and antimicrobial drugs

Our new paper in Acta Biomaterialia (Stewart et al, June 27, 2018) on the design and smart response of composite materials for dental applications, which contain microspheres packed with antimicrobial drug. These spheres were synthesized by a unique self-assembly that we developed previously (Stewart et al, Scientific Reports, Jan 2018), which allows 'surfactant-type' (ie; detergent-like) antimicrobial drug molecules to self-assemble with silicate (ie; glass) species and make a nanocomposite sphere (below). As a result, the drug makes up half the material! We're very excited about this kind of approach as a means to add much better antibacterial performance qualities to dental materials, and help prevent 'secondary caries' - cavities which form around existing fillings.

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Keeping bacteria from stainless steel surfaces

Our new ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces paper (Awad et al, July 2018) shows a food-safe, large scale and inexpensive version of SLIPS for large industrial food processing equipment. This approach traps regular cooking oil onto a regular stainless steel surface, and into the microgrooves that enable bacterial adhesion. Even though most of the oil gets worn away (by physical shear), we believe that the small amounts of residual oil that remain can block these defect sites. As a result, this surface treatment can keep bacterial counts to about 1000x lower than untreated stainless steel.