Thermal-Disrupting Interface Mitigates Intercellular Cohesion Loss for Accurate Topical Antibacterial Therapy

Benhui Hu, Christopher Berkey, Timothy Feliciano, Xiaohong Chen, Zhuyun Li, Chao Chen, Shahrouz Amini, Mui Hoon Nai, Qun Li Lei, Ran Ni, Juan Wang, Wan Ru Leow, Shaowu Pan, Yong Qiang Li, Pingqiang Cai, Ali Miserez, Shuzhou Li, Chwee Teck Lim*, Yun Long Wu, Teri W. OdomReinhold H. Dauskardt, Xiaodong Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Bacterial infections remain a leading threat to global health because of the misuse of antibiotics and the rise in drug-resistant pathogens. Although several strategies such as photothermal therapy and magneto-thermal therapy can suppress bacterial infections, excessive heat often damages host cells and lengthens the healing time. Here, a localized thermal managing strategy, thermal-disrupting interface induced mitigation (TRIM), is reported, to minimize intercellular cohesion loss for accurate antibacterial therapy. The TRIM dressing film is composed of alternative microscale arrangement of heat-responsive hydrogel regions and mechanical support regions, which enables the surface microtopography to have a significant effect on disrupting bacterial colonization upon infrared irradiation. The regulation of the interfacial contact to the attached skin confines the produced heat and minimizes the risk of skin damage during thermoablation. Quantitative mechanobiology studies demonstrate the TRIM dressing film with a critical dimension for surface features plays a critical role in maintaining intercellular cohesion of the epidermis during photothermal therapy. Finally, endowing wound dressing with the TRIM effect via in vivo studies in S. aureus infected mice demonstrates a promising strategy for mitigating the side effects of photothermal therapy against a wide spectrum of bacterial infections, promoting future biointerface design for antibacterial therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1907030
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • antibacterial therapy
  • biointerfaces
  • intercellular cohesion
  • thermal management
  • wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)


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