Juliana Chiruta has completed her PhD in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology and at the Department of Chemistry from The University of Adelaide. She is currently employed as a Senior Member of the professional staff in the Faculty of Health, School of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. She is an Associate Fellow of Higher Education Academy (UK) and a member of Higher Education Research Network (QUT).
Practical learning is a critical component of skills development in all areas of clinical microbiology, however, there are some increasing challenges faced by tertiary institution in the management of teaching laboratories to balance increasing demands on space, resources, and health and safety practices with sound pedagogy and authentic practical activities that prepare students for the real world. Hearing and Lu (2014) reported that “inappropriate utilization of laboratory tests and errors in laboratory medicine are major concerns” that can lead to poor patient diagnostics, high costs of health care and inadequate treatments. Clinical microbiology laboratories serve as first line defense for patient diagnosis, detection and tracking of emerging antibiotic resistance, outbreaks of foodborne infections, and possible bioterrorism events. Poorly performing laboratories have been associated with increased healthcare costs, and poor patient diagnosis and treatment with associated malpractice claims. Published studies identified that maintaining high-quality test accuracy and accurate interpretation and diagnostics are critical tools for patient care outcomes. Literature also supports the vital importance of authentic educational studies in the higher education sector that correlates students’ scientific knowledge and practical skills with critical thinking and analytical skills, interpretation and evaluation of data and communication of information to achieve a specific outcome. Further managing this within the new landscape of a multidisciplinary laboratory environment offers new challenges to academics, technical staff and students alike. This communication presents the relevance and efficiency with which technical, virtual and human resources and infrastructure are blended and adjusted against an authentic laboratory design to enable students to transition from disciplinary knowledge to professional practice.
Laura Andrea Barrero-Guevara has completed her undergraduate studies in Microbiology and Biology from Universidad de los Andes and she is pursuing her master studies in Biological Sciences in Universidad de los Andes in 2016.
Multi-resistant S. aureus is the principal cause for skin and soft tissue infections, but the deficiency in treatment can allow the microorganism to infect other tissues and even cause death. The increase in the lack of options for therapeutic treatments for this infection is a major concern worldwide that needs to be addressed with the search for new antimicrobial agents and therapeutic approaches. The objective of this ongoing study is to determine the antimicrobial and immunomodulatory potential of new peptides individually and in combination in the search for a therapeutic treatment against S. aureus skin infections. First, stability related features, described proteins and antimicrobial peptides with sequence similarities and immune related features of the 8 new peptides were analyzed with a broad repertoire of databases and bioinformatic tools. Secondly, cytotoxic activity was determined by MTT assays with the 3 cell lines: African green monkey fibroblast-like kidney cells (VERO), Human monocytic cell line (THP-1) and macrophages that were obtained exposing THP-1 cells with 150 nM PMA. Thirdly, to ascertain the integrity of S. aureus strains resistant profile, antibiotic sensitivity assays were developed with a qualitative and a quantitative method. Then, a reference strain, a nonresistant clinically isolated strain and 3 multi-resistant clinically isolated strains were challenged to the eight peptides individually and in combination in microdilution assays. Finally, after differentiating the THP-1 monocytes cell line to macrophages as mention previously, cells were exposed to the peptides and the concentration of 13 cytokines was determined with the LEGENDplex™ Human Inflammation Panel (BioLegend).