Alejandro Astúa

Title of the project: Design of an integrated optical lab-on-a-chip biosensor for therapeutic drug monitoring of antibiotics and identification of pathogens and their antimicrobial susceptibility

Supervisors and Host institution: Prof. Laura M. Lechuga and Dr. Mari Carmen Estévez at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2-CSIC)

My PhD project focuses on developing a biosensor based on nanophotonic technology and offering an innovative tool for therapeutic drug monitoring, pathogen identification and antimicrobial susceptibility, allowing health specialists take timely decisions on their patients. People undergoing critical bacterial infections require an accurate diagnosis and treatment to guarantee survival and full recovery. Techniques for pathogen detection, antimicrobial susceptibility and therapeutic drug monitoring contribute with the correct use of antibiotics to limit the proliferation of resistant strains and, on the other hand, evaluate antibiotics with a narrow therapeutic range. Given this scenario, our biosensor aims to monitor levels of up to 4 narrow-range antibiotics in blood and it is intended to identify widely known pathogens causing infections as well as the antimicrobial response to this set of antibiotics.

"The DOC-FAM MSCA fellowship has allowed me to develop multiple capacities and live new experiences that I am sure will help boost my career as a researcher."

I'm a biotech engineer graduated from the Costa Rica Institute of Technology with a master's degree in nanotechnology from the University of Zaragoza. After a couple of years being apart from the Academia, I decided to apply for the DOC-FAM call and get involved again in science and applied research and now I am living for this opportunity as a fellow.

Since I was an undergraduate student I got interested in biomedicine, new biomaterials and applied nanotechnology, so I started participating in projects about innovative methods and technologies for diagnosis and therapies in humans. I think that my current work and contribution at the ICN2 is a well addressed experience that can provide me the knowledge, expertise, skills and contacts to establish and continue a multidiciplinary career. One of the main achievements from this fellowship is my determination to become a key professional in the nanobiotech field either in a research center or a private company.

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