Developing a Theranostic Device for the Treatment of Staphylococcus aureus Infections

  • Lauren Gwynne

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Chronic wounds are a global health problem, affecting approximately 1 – 2% of the general population in developed countries. Chronic wounds are also an economic burden, with the NHS in the UK spending approximately £4.5 – 5.1 billion per annum, after adjusting for co-morbidities. Chronic wounds also have a negative effect on the patient’s quality of life and can lead to a range of psychological consequences such as depression, anxiety and embarrassment, all of which can lead to social isolation, further perpetuating psychological illness.

Current methods to detect wound infection are lacking. Sampling techniques are often imprecise and cause pain to the patient. Additionally, standard microbiological techniques are time consuming, have to be performed by a trained specialist, and are often only able to identify bacteria that can be routinely grown in a laboratory.

Owing to these aforementioned issues, there is a growing need to create novel ‘smart’ systems that can detect or treat pathogenic bacteria accurately and rapidly, without the need of invasive, painful sampling techniques, and time consuming microbiological analysis.

This thesis outlines the development of a novel theranostic wound dressing capable of detecting and treating S. aureus infections. Bacteriophage K and ciprofloxacin were encapsulated within a pH-responsive polymer matrix, and upon a rise in pH were released from the system to treat the S. aureus infection. Concurrently, a novel colorimetric and fluorescent probe was designed to detect S. aureus, to notify the patient or health care practitioner to the presence of an infection. Both components of this theranostic system were tested against S. aureus species using a variety of microbiological techniques, including suspension assays, biofilm models, and ex vivo porcine skin assays.
Date of Award16 Jun 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorToby Jenkins (Supervisor) & Simon Lewis (Supervisor)


  • Bacteriophage Therapy
  • Stimuli Repsonsive
  • Wound Management
  • Polymer Films
  • Fluorescent Probes

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