Because nanofactories are designed to affect communication instead of trying to kill the bacteria, they could help treat illness in cases where a strain of bacteria has become resistant to antibiotics.
"The work by Dr. Bentley is extremely exciting as he is using the ability of engineering to 'build' using nature based components," says
, associate professor in the Departments of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering and the Lane Center for Computational Biology and Biological Sciences at
Carnegie Mellon University
. "Understanding the science of cells is wonderful, but then using these components and constructing systems that leverage biological advantages is a huge step forward. His work in this paper uses his synthetic biology approach to build new nanofactories toward new areas of antimicrobials as well as opening new findings in quorum sensing."
The nanofactories' ability to alter cell-to-cell communication isn't limited to fighting infections.
"Quorum sensing and signaling molecules are actually used to accomplish a lot of things," Bentley explains. "Sometimes disease develops because communication is
taking place—a good example is digestive disorders that involve an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive tract. In that case, nanofactories could be used to start or increase communication instead of disrupting it."
For More Information:
Read the article at Nature Nanotechnology
Visit Professor Bentley's web site
See a research overview at the Biochip Collaborative web site
About the A. James Clark School of Engineering
The Clark School of Engineering, situated on the rolling, 1,500-acre
University of Maryland
College Park, Md.
, is one of the premier engineering schools in the U.S.
The Clark School's graduate programs are collectively the fastest rising in the nation. In
U.S. News & World Report
's annual rating of graduate programs, the school is 17th among public and private programs nationally, 9th among public programs nationally and first among public programs in the mid-Atlantic region. The School offers 13 graduate programs and 12 undergraduate programs, including degree and certification programs tailored for working professionals.
The school is home to one of the most vibrant research programs in the country. With major emphasis in key areas such as communications and networking, nanotechnology, bioengineering, reliability engineering, project management, intelligent transportation systems and space robotics, as well as electronic packaging and smart small systems and materials, the Clark School is leading the way toward the next generations of engineering advances.