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BIOE 500 Seminar Series - Dr. Guillermo Monroy

Event Type
Bioengineering Department
Feb 6, 2024   11:30 am - 12:25 pm  
Originating Calendar
Bioengineering calendar

Guillermo L. Monroy

Postdoctoral Research Associate

University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana 

Title: Lightning in a bottle: Harnessing the power of plasma for medicine

AbstractOtitis media (OM) occurs in more than 90% of children by the age of 3, leading to millions being prescribed and over-prescribed antibiotics, increasing the risk of antibiotic resistance in the middle ear, in addition to concerns of impacting a developing microbiome.  Previously, I investigated optical coherence tomography (OCT) as a new class of diagnostic tool to distinguish normal, acute, and chronic OM in human participants. Yet, there remains an unmet need to develop an antibiotic-free point-of-care therapy to manage multiple presentations of OM, particularly if resistant to standard first-line broad spectrum antibiotics.

The latest research in plasma medicine has shown progress to treat cells or tissues directly without damage (thermal, cytotoxic, acoustic) and even promote immune response, particularly in surface wounds. In this talk, I will discuss the recent development of a cold microplasma-based therapeutic platform to safely reduce bacterial load in the ear using effects of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS). A custom device delivers RONS to the ear where they diffuse into the middle ear cavity and reduce bacterial load to successfully clear OM infections without side effects. A preclinical animal model (Chinchilla Lanigera) was developed along with a suite of techniques to validate safety and integrity of tissue (behavioral exams, OCT, hearing test, 9.4T MRI, histology, etc.). Animals were each longitudinally tracked using OCT and otoscopy for approximately 30 days throughout the course of inoculated OM and treatment. Currently, three animals have been fully cured using plasma treatments alone without side effects, and when combined with antibiotics - the infection time course is reduced in two animals, even at a lower dosage. Comprehensive validation data will be presented, and the collaborative interdisciplinary approach that has enabled this work to succeed will be highlighted. With further development, this platform and method can reduce the need for antibiotic prescription for one of the most common childhood diseases and fundamentally change the management of this disease. 

BioGuillermo L. Monroy, PhD is a postdoctoral research associate in Stephen Boppart's Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D from the University of Illinois. He completed a postdoctoral ORISE Fellowship with the Division of Biomedical Physics, Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories (OSEL), Center for Disease and Radiological Health, at the FDA before returning to Illinois in 2020. He is motivated to design and implement intuitive systems, devices, and software that improve our understanding of human diseases and overall health. Long term, Monroy is on the market for an Assistant Professorship and plans to continue this work and expand this technology to new applications and diseases. 


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