The 2016 Oslo team
We are the 2016 iGEM team from the University of Oslo, found in Oslo, the heart of Norway. We are a total of seven students with different areas of expertise; informatics, pharmacy, nanotechnology and molecular biology. We have two main supervisors, Dirk Linke and Eric de Muinck. If you want to get to know us better, press the TEAM button.
Our project, URINETROUBLE, is about detecting Extended Spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) producing bacteria in urinary tract infections. ESBL producing bacteria are antibiotic resistant bacteria which produce an enzyme called β-lactamase. β-lactamase cleaves the β-lactamring, a structure found in many of our most common antibiotics, thereby making these antibiotics ineffective. Effective detection of these bacteria would enable medical personnel to more accurately prescribe the right antibiotics the first time a patient comes in with an infection.
We pick up the mantle in the battle towards antibiotic resistance, officially listed by the WHO as one of the biggest threats to the world as we know it. This affects all of us, independent of age and country. The consequences of antibiotic resistance are that smaller operations and common infections that today are treatable, such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections, can become deadly.
By improving diagnostics, unnecessary and futile use of antibiotics can be prevented, enabling us to contain the spread of resistant microbes before it is too late for all of us.
We present PhoneLab, a functioning diagnostic tool that could easily be commercialized. By combining our own unique hardware and software with traditional molecular biology and the power residing in modern smartphones, we have created the chassis for a mobile, easy-to-use and cheap detection tool. PhoneLab is a product that could play a role in changing the face of modern diagnostics.
Current detection methods are either too expensive, require expertise, take too much time and/or generate problematic waste. Therefore, many patients are prescribed antibiotics without being tested for the presence of antibiotic resistant microbes. PhoneLab can potentially eliminate these problems, allowing such tests to be done inexpensively, easily and safely within minutes. Thus, antibiotics can be prescribed in a more accurate way.