CIT and CUH Collaborate on Bacterial Research
Published on: Wednesday, 05 March 2014
A significant capital award from Science Foundation Ireland to Dr Brigid Lucey and Dr Aidan Coffey at CIT's Department of Biological Sciences has been used to purchase a MALDI-TOF (Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight) Mass Spectrometer. The new instrument was set up at the collaborating Bacteriology Laboratory at Cork University Hospital under the supervision of Dr Brendan O’Reilly.
The sharing of this advanced technology in Cork underpins the long-running productive research collaboration between CIT and CUH. It ensures that the instrument is used optimally both to generate new information used directly by biomedical PhD students at CIT and also to fundamentally assist with patient treatment at CUH.
The MALDI-TOF uses a laser beam to take pulsed shots of tiny samples of microbes sourced from patient infections. The information obtained is compared with a bacterial database in the instrument’s software to accurately identify the microbe within minutes, compared with the typical 18-24 hours needed for traditional biochemical tests in the laboratory. The technology is rapidly gaining acceptance as a superior way to diagnose human infection in hospitals around the world and is an important advance in clinical microbiology in Cork.
In the CIT/CUH collaborative research programme the inter-departmental team is also using the instrument to advance the characterization of new species and strains of pathogenic bacteria that have emerged from patient infections to improve rapid investigation of infection outbreaks and to quickly detect toxins produced by bacteria isolated regularly from infectious diseases.