Research in Focus: Using Gelatin Nanoparticles To Find An Antibiotic Alternative

As part of #BiofilmWeek, we’re highlighting interesting and exciting biofilm research being undertaken across our NBIC partner research institutions by early career researchers, PhD students and our Interdisciplinary Research Fellows.

We interviewed Erin Myles, an NBIC BITE PhD student at the University of Liverpool. Her research aims to develop new applications in treatment of common hospital acquired infections, as an alternative to antibiotics.

Tell us about your research and how it links to AMR

My research focuses on synthesising antimicrobial drug delivery systems, or the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections. The overuse of antibiotics has obviously led to the development of multi-drug resistant bacteria, therefore there is now a need to develop new therapeutic agents that will not cause an increase in AMR. My project looks at using nitric oxide, which is an effective broad spectrum antimicrobial, and it’s actually produced by the immune system as a result as of invading pathogens.

Because nitric oxide is a highly reactive, free radical, it has a very short shelf life. Therefore, delivering it to an actual site of infection can be quite tricky at times. My project looks at ways to combat this. I’m focusing on using gelatin nanoparticles, which you can tether nitric oxide donors to, which can then be used as a delivery system to treat respiratory infections.

Respiratory Tract Infections are the world’s third leading cause of death, and has been responsible for 4.2 million deaths on average globally. As these numbers are so high, there is a large number of antibiotics used, which obviously then increases the spread of AMR. So by providing an antibiotic alternative or we hope not only to treat disinfection but also prolong the longevity of commonly used antimicrobial or antibiotics and then reduce the strain that AMR places on health care systems.

Has NBIC supported you with any of your projects or in your career? 

Without NBIC I would not have been able to do my PhD and throughout my PhD there have been so many opportunities to meet other researchers and network through various training programmes, seminars and workshops.

Therapy Urinary Tract Infections
Therapy Urinary Tract Infections
Gelatin nanoparticles used to tether nitric oxide donors to.

Find out more

If you are interested in learning more about this project and would like to connect with Erin please contact NBIC at


Erin Myles, PhD student, University of Liverpool.

NBIC Erin Myles