Surfaces Containing Sharp Nanostructures Enhance Antibiotic Efficacy

Richard Bright, Andrew Hayles, Jonathan Wood, Dennis Palms, Toby Brown, Dan Barker, Krasimir Vasilev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ever-increasing rate of medical device implantations is met by a proportionately high burden of implant-associated infections. To mitigate this threat, much research has been directed toward the development of antibacterial surface modifications by various means. One recent approach involves surfaces containing sharp nanostructures capable of killing bacteria upon contact. Herein, we report that the mechanical interaction between Staphylococcus aureus and such surface nanostructures leads to a sensitization of the pathogen to the glycopeptide antibiotic vancomycin. We demonstrate that this is due to cell wall damage and impeded bacterial defenses against reactive oxygen species. The results of this study promise to be impactful in the clinic, as a combination of nanostructured antibacterial surfaces and antibiotics commonly used in hospitals may improve antimicrobial therapy strategies, helping clinicians to prevent and treat implant-associated infections using reduced antibiotic concentrations instead of relying on invasive revision surgeries with often poor outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6724–6731
Number of pages8
JournalNano Letters
Issue number16
Early online date28 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2022


  • antibacterial
  • antibiotics
  • biomimetics
  • hydrothermal etching
  • implant-associated infections
  • nanostructure
  • nanostructures


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