Based on a recent market research survey, the U.S. demand for implantable medical devices is forecast to increase 7.7% annually to $52 billion in 2015. While orthopedic implants remain the largest segment, implantable devices are frequently used in urology, cardiovascular specialties, neurology, gynecology, and otolaryngology. With the increased usage of implantable devices, the number of biofilm-associated infections has emerged as a significant clinical problem because biofilms are often resistant to traditional antimicrobial therapy and difficult to eradicate. In fact, biofilm cells show as much as a 1000-fold more resistance to traditional antimicrobial therapy than their planktonic cell counterparts and biofilm-based microbial infections make up to 80% of all infections in patients, leading the CDC to declare biofilms to be one of the most important medical hurdles of the century.
Since microbial biofilms are a major clinical concern, my lab seeks to (a) advance the ability to diagnose biofilm-associated infections, (b) understanding of the formation of biofilms, and (c) develop/use novel treatment approaches to prevent and treat biofilm-associated infections.