Student work to contribute to challenging sepsis

Grahame Guilford

Alice Heeroma, a chemistry student at Bangor University, is hoping that her research work will contribute to the fight against sepsis.

Bangor University reports Alice Heeroma is studying for a Doctorate in Chemistry with Dr Christopher Gwenin and Dr Leigh Jones at Bangor University. She is in the first year of her research which should contribute to the creation of a rapid test for sepsis.

Sepsis, the body’s over-reaction to an infection, can strike very quickly, but current tests take between two and five days to deliver positive identification. Sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure, septic shock and organ damage as well as loss of life.

Alice Heeroma said the two practical projects, which also had a very real and valuable application, have provided her with valuable technical and practical experience for her research Project. During her undergraduate projects, she created organic microstructures which can be used in drug delivery as well as a range of other industrial applications and contributed to work to develop peptoids to be used to prevent premature births.

She said “The practical projects we carried out at Bangor University have put me in a good position to begin my PhD research straight away. Had I followed an undergraduate degree which didn’t offer a practical project, I’d now be spending time learning lab techniques at the beginning of my research PhD. These are also skills that I have acquired are also the transferrable skills that employers are looking for if you want a career in a lab. I’m really hoping that my work will make a difference, by contributing to the development of a hand- held rapid identification tool for sepsis.”

Alice Heeroma’s PhD is sponsored by CALIN, the Celtic Advances Life-Sciences Innovation Network for Welsh and Irish businesses, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

University College Cork are also working on the project with North Wales company, SOPHIMARK. The project has developed out of previous work between Bangor University and the company.

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