Research by Ana Flores Mireles, the Hawk Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, has been chosen to compete in a virtual, bracket-style tournament to find the most innovative medical biomedical research of the year.
STAT Madness is an annual competition featuring 64 different types of research that the public may vote on, with brackets based on college basketball’s March Madness tournaments. Flores-Mireles has discovered a cause of the most prevalent infection reported in hospitals and nursing homes: urinary tract infections from catheters.
(Cast your vote for your favorite research beginning Wednesday, March 1, 2023 until the winner of the popular vote is announced on April 4, 2022.)
Urinary catheters predispose patients to so many infections because they cause damage and inflammation of the bladder, Flores Mireles’s research found. The damage releases proteins that try to heal the small scratches and scars within. Experiments completed in the lab showed that host clotting factor 1, fibrinogen, forms a web on the catheter that becomes a breeding ground for bacteria.
Using her research from multiple experiments, Flores-Mireles and collaborators developed a liquid-infused catheter with a special silicone coating that fibrinogen and pathogens don't effectively stick to, reducing the incidence of catheter-associated urinary tract infection.
The voting will be completed in weekly rounds. The first starts March 1 and ends March 7. The research project with the most votes in each bracket will move to the next round of voting.