Ongoing Projects

1) Photodynamic Inactivation based on natural compounds or derivatives thereof to cure human infections.
Antimicrobial resistance threatens the health of humans world-wide. If not tackled now, microorganisms resistant to conventional treatment with antibiotics could cause 10 million fatalities per year by 2050. Even today more than150 000 patients in healthcare facilities  in the European Union are affected by MRSA infections, resulting in avoidable hospital costs of EUR 380 millions.
Photodynamic Inactivation serves as efficient alternative to local treatment with antibiotics. Some natural substances, such as hypericin from St. John’s wort or curcumin from turmeric have excellent photoactive properties and therefore have great potential to serve as biocompatible photosensitizers.
In this project our laboratory tests natural substances or derivatives thereof tailored for photodynamic application to cure human infections caused by bacterial or fungal pathogens.
In vitro experiments performed in our lab allow for finding possible drug and light doses for the translation into clinical practice. A porcine skin model serves as ideal experimental system to test Phtodynamic Inactivation of microorganisms on skin.
Further reading:
– Tortik N, Steinbacher P, Maisch T, Spaeth A, Plaetzer K: A comparative study on the antibacterial photodynamic efficiency of a curcumin derivate and a formulation on a porcine skin model. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences (2016), 15(2),187-95.

(2) Photodynamic Decontamination of foodstuff.
Access to safe, healthy and affordable food represents a fundamental human need. Foodborne and waterborne diarrhoeal diseases kill an estimated 2.2 million people annually, most of whom are children. In addition, exposure through food is the most important transmission route for resistant microorganisms from animals to people.
This project focuses on the application of Photodynamic Inactivation for microbial decontamination of foodstuff. As photosensitizers natural substances approved as food additives or derivatives thereof are being used. In addition, reduction of the microbial load shall prolong shelf life of the products.
Both, bacterial and fungal contaminants are brought onto vegetables, sprouts and meat. Subsqeuently, Photodynamic Decontamination is performed and the efficiency of photokilling is tested. An important parameter for Photodynamic Decontaminaction is the three-dimensional geometry of the specimen.
Further reading:
– Tortik N, Spaeth A, Plaetzer K: Photodynamic decontamination of foodstuff from Staphylococcus aureus based on novel formulations of curcumin. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences (2014), 13(10), 1402-9.
– Glueck M, Schamberger B, Eckl P, Plaetzer K: New horizons in microbiological food safety: Photodynamic Decontamination based on a curcumin derivative. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences (2017), 16(12), 1784-1791.

(3) Photodynamic Inactivation against plant pathogens.
 Further reading:
– Glueck M, Hamminger C, Fefer M, Liu J, Plaetzer K: Save the crop: Photodynamic Inactivation of plant pathogens I: bacteria. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences (2019), 18(7), 1700-1708

Partners of PDI-PLUS

Academic Partners:
Prof. Dr. Santi Nonell Marrugat, FRSC, IQS School of Engineering, Universidad Ramon Llull, Barcelona, Spain.
Prof. Dr. Fabienne Dumoulin, Department of Chemistry, Gebze Institute of Technology, Gebze Kocaeli, Turkey.
Prof. Dr. Stephanie Lhez, University of Limoges, France.
Prof. Dr. Lluisa Perez Garcia, University of Nottingham, UK.
DI Dr. Peter Dungel, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology, Vienna, Austria
PD Dr. Tobias Kiesslich, Department of Internal Medicine I, Salzburger Landeskliniken (SALK) and Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Paracelsus Medical University,  Salzburg, Austria.
Prof. Dr. Barbara Krammer, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria.
PD Dr. Tim Maisch, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.
Prof. Dr. Vincent Sol, Laboratoire de Chimie des Substances Naturelles, Département de Chimie, Université de Limoges, Limoges, France.

Industrial Partners:

TECAN Austria, Groedig, Austria.
 REPULS Lichtmedizintechnik GmbH, Vienna, Austria.
SANOCHEMIA Pharmazeutika AG, Vienna, Austria.

PLANTA Natural Products, Vienna, Austria.

ROITHNER LaserTechnik GmbH, Vienna, Austria.

NGO Partners:
Innovation 4.X, Association for Promotion of Innovations, Pasching., Austria.
ESIHR, European Society for Integrated Health Research, Vienna, Austria.