AUT Engineering PhD candidate Stephanie Anne Croft placed third in the Falling Walls Competition held in Canberra, Australia, where participants have to sum up their research in three minutes.
She is one of five New Zealanders to take part in the competition. The Royal Society and the School of Engineering funded some of the costs for the trip.
She is based in the Centre for Kode Technology Innovation trying to create a barrier to stop bacterial infections.
“Despite advances in medical technology, around half of hospital-acquired bacterial infections are associated with medical implants. It is a disastrous complication of surgery affecting hundreds of thousands of people worldwide owing to the increasing number of surgical interventions performed each year. Infections have devastating consequences to the patient which can lead to immobility and even death. Infections also incur a staggering cost to our healthcare systems amounting to billions of dollars each year.”
Her research is to develop an antibacterial surface coating technology using Function-Spacer-Lipid (FSL) molecules.
“The unique structure of these molecules allows for the design of a variety of antibacterial coatings that can be used on almost any type of synthetic surface that will kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria but will not negatively affect the functionality of the medical device or be toxic to human cells.”
The New Zealand Herald spoke to Stephanie last year about her research.