Professor KoonGee Neoh

This Highlight Seminar will be held online.

Antimicrobial Surfaces via Molecular Engineering Strategies for Biomedical Applications:

Opportunities and Challenges


Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) contribute significantly to patient morbidity and mortality, and healthcare costs. A major cause of HAIs is attributed to biofilms formed by microorganisms on indwelling medical devices such as catheters, which are a ubiquitous and indispensable component in modern medical practice. Biofilms are highly resistant to antimicrobial agents, which makes them very difficult to eradicate. Another contributing factor to HAIs is microbial contamination of surfaces in the healthcare environment that recurs rapidly following cleaning and disinfection or persists despite cleaning. In view of the difficulty in eradicating biofilms, an attractive approach in HAIs prevention would be to inhibit the formation of biofilms on the pertinent surfaces in the first place. In this presentation, I will discuss the various strategies we employed to engineer antimicrobial coatings for applications related to healthcare. Four different applications, (i) urinary catheters, (ii) peritoneal catheters and blood contacting surfaces, (iii) orthopedic/dental implants and (iv) transparent coatings for medical devices in healthcare settings, will be used to illustrate the dissimilar application-specific demands imposed on the coatings and the need to consider aspects beyond the antimicrobial property in the intended application. Finally, some of the challenges in translating potentially favorable developments from in vitro studies into similar clinical outcomes will be discussed.


KoonGee Neoh is currently a Professor in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS). She received her Bachelor’s and ScD degrees in Chemical Engineering from MIT. Her main research focus is on surface/molecular engineering of materials to control their interactions with biomolecules, microorganisms and cells, and application of such technology to address biomedical issues such as preventing healthcare-associated infections, and targeted theranostics. She has published >600 international journal articles and book chapters and has been granted 26 patents. The honours/awards she received include the Association of MIT Alumnae Scholastic Award, NUS Teaching Excellence Award, Singapore National Science Award, NUS Staff Achievement Award, Japan Association for the Advancement of Medical Equipment Fellowship and AIChE (Singapore Local Section) Outstanding Researcher Award.

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