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Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (AST) system for rapid, targeted treatment of pathogenic bacteria 

Prof. Joost J. Vlassak

Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Materials Engineering

John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Pathogenic bacteria are increasingly acquiring antibiotic resistance and new forms of resistance are continuously emerging; upwards of 50% of treatments are started with the wrong antibiotics. Current culture-based Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (AST) methods are time-consuming and can incorrectly identify an effective antibiotic. Researchers in Joost Vlassak’s lab have developed a system based on calorimetry to measure microbial heat flow and track bacterial infections with considerably greater sensitivity than commercial AST systems.


The technology promises to determine functional dosage, perform in-parallel testing of multiple antibacterial agents in less than one hour, and is considered ‘future-proofed’ against new and emerging infections. The lab is seeking funding to demonstrate applicability across a broader range of bacteria and treatments and to develop an advanced prototype. The ultimate goal is the launch of a startup company. 

Project Overview

Interested in this technology?  We are currently seeking partners in academia and industry to collaborate on further developments. 

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