Nikolaj Sorgenfrei Blom

CERE to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria

Wednesday 14 Jun 17


Nikolaj Sorgenfrei Blom
DTU Chemical Engineering
Does killing antibiotic resistant bacteria with resonant electromagnetic fields (EMF) sound like a wild idea?

That is exactly what Dr. Nikolaj Sorgenfrei Blom will be attempting to do over the next two years thanks to a Villum Experiment grant from the Villum Foundation.

The Villum Experiment grant is awarded to original and bold ideas, which may be risky, but may also break new ground if they succeed - in this case by providing a solution to a global health issue.

The DireWaves project (Disarming Resistant Microbes with Resonant Waves) will attempt to disarm a type of resistant bacteria, the biofilm-producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa, (causing major problems for patients with cystic fibrosis) by biophysical means rather than conventional chemically based antibiotics.
Preliminary studies by Dr. Blom suggest that biofilm formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa can be inhibited by exposure to a low-intensity, low-frequency (10-20 Hz) electromagnetic field.

Other groups have found that the high-frequency (in the 100 kHz range) Oscillating Pulsed Electric Field (OPEF) technology, which is an FDA-approved brain tumor therapy in the US, also seems to affect microbes such as MRSA, Borrelia and Pseudomonas-biofilm in a way that limits their growth and/or resistance to antibiotic.

The DireWaves project will therefore investigate both the two different EMF technologies that have shown a promising effect on microorganisms. The project will also investigate the synergistic effect of using both low- and high frequencies.
In addition to Dr. Blom, the project will involve a postdoc and a visiting professor. It is scheduled to run from 2017-2019 and has a total budget of DKK 2 mil. (EUR. 270,000).

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