Optical Susceptibility Testing for Phage Therapy

Published : 13 December 2016

The supply of new antibiotics is insufficient to keep up with the increase in drug resistance as older medicines are used more widely and microbes evolve to resist them. In this context, phage therapy may be encouraged and developed in the coming years. This therapy is a credible alternative that relies on bacteriophages (or phages), which are viruses infecting specifically bacteria. An efficient and reasoned antibiotherapy is based on diagnostic tests, especially AST (antibiotic susceptibility testing). In a similar way, phagotherapy will have to rely on the results of a diagnostic test yielding the susceptibility of bacterial pathogen to a group of phages. And just like AST, this phage susceptibility test will have to comply with the increasing automation of clinical microbiology labs. The proposed thesis aims at developing such a test, which would be based on an optical method. As a first step, three different optical methods will be tested and compared with a simple biological model (speckle imaging, digital holography and single-cell Raman spectroscopy). As a second step, a prototype will be designed so that clinical bacterial strains can be tested with it. This research subject will be proposed to a student with an optical or biophysical background and motivated by the field of medical diagnostics.

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