Post Doc 2020 University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado
PhD 2020 Arizona State University, Arizona
MS 2017 Arizona State University , Arizona
BS 2015 University of Dayton, Ohio
Pathogenic bacteria growth on surfaces creates health hazards and operational problems in water, air and biomedical devices. In healthcare there are roughly 2 million hospital associated infections resulting in 99,000 deaths each year, costing hospitals $28-45 billion annually. Chemical management works for a short duration (days) damages surfaces and produces harmful by-products. Ultraviolet (UV) radiatio is a chemical-free disinfection process. However, it is nearly impossible to distribute UV light through the inside of small channels. The lopes lab is developing germicidal optical fibers (GOFs) to distribute UVC radiation through tight channels to prevent infections and operational issues caused by biofilms. We interfere with the evanescence wave on the surface of the UV transmitting optical fiber that results in emission of UVC radiation. The germicidal light is emitted through the length of the fiber (like a glowstick), inactivating microorganisms in its vicinity. GOFs were demonstrated effective for inactivation and growth prevention of E. coli and P. aeruginosa. GOFs are bendable and can also be configured into tight or complex geometries. GOFs are ideal for use in medical equipment (i.e. endoscopes, catheters and respirators) home devices (coffee makers and refrigerators), and water storage/distribution systems (pipes, bladders, membranes).
Our group seeks to engineer platforms that enhance light transport and reactions for photon-driven applications. This includes using Nano-enabled technologies for light-driven chemical transformations while optimizing hydraulics and optical paths of reactor designs. Recent research focuses on biofilm prevention and bacterial inhibition in tight channels using ultraviolet radiation and developing light-driven destruction methods for the removal of PFAS and other chemicals of concern from drinking water and medical surfaces. We are currently focused on enabling UV sterilization of tight channels in medical equipment's such as endoscopes and catheters. We work at the interface of basic science and industry to create innovative and green technologies applicable to today’s social and economic climate.