Mr Faith Uche Ukachukwu

Research project: Understanding and preventing ocular damage in bacterial eye infections

Abstract

Ocular infections are among the myriad of infections caused by bacteria pathogens such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Infection of the eye with these bacteria species induce several mechanisms that result in ocular damage, including perforation, corneal melt, and injury, which can result to blindness. The situation is even worsened by the increasing circulating resistant bacteria strains, failure of currently recommended antibiotics and the depleting antibiotics pipeline. This research aims to identify novel antimicrobial agents from natural products such as fatty acids, their derivatives and essential oils that are effective against infections caused by these bacteria pathogens. Of particular interests are candidates that provide antibacterial action against all three of these bacteria species. A model system using bovine eyes which mimics the response of the human eye to irritation and tissue damage will be used to investigate the mechanism of ocular infection with these three bacteria, the safety of the antimicrobial agents and their ability to clear these bacterial infections from the eye. Suitable antimicrobial candidates will be developed into therapies that will not only eliminate the bacterial infection, but also prevent or reduce the occurrence of ocular damage. This project will target the development of a single formulation that have a spectrum of activity against these three bacteria species.

Biography

I worked previously for several years as a clinical optometrist abroad with experience spanning primary and tertiary eye care before moving into research. Influenced by my ophthalmic background, my research work is multi-disciplinary and involves a collaboration between microbiologists and pharmaceutical scientists. My current research project involves identifying novel alternative antimicrobials that can be developed into therapies to combat bacterial infections especially those with ocular implications. I am also involved in teaching roles where I contribute to the delivery of modules to undergrad and postgrad students at Kingston University. I have published some of my works and enjoy collaborating with colleagues within my research field. 

Areas of research interest

  • Bacterial infections
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Discovery of novel antimicrobial agents
  • Ocular infections and vision science

Qualifications

  • Master in Public Health, University of Chester, UK
  • Doctor of Optometry, Imo State University, Nigeria
  • Fellow Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Funding or awards received

  • Society Conference grant award by Microbiology Society, 2022
  • Research visit grant award by Microbiology Society, 2021
  • Bursary award from Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing towards PhD (£10,000) 2018
  • Westminster Scholarship Award (towards MPH degree £7,560) 2016 - 2017
  • Chester Difference Excellence Award by University of Chester (Careers and Employability) November 2017
  • Plaque of Appreciation awarded by Nigerian Optometric Association (Lagos Branch) for contribution towards the growth of Eye care delivery in Nigeria March, 2014.
  • National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Kwara State Coordinator's Commendation Certificate of Merit Award February, 2014
  • Staff of the year award by Acuview Eye Clinic, Nigeria December, 2011

Publications

Balogun, M.M and Ukachukwu F. U (2013). Distribution of refractive errors in children in an urban population in Nigeria. Nigerian Medical practitioner, 64(3-4), 34 - 40

Ukachukwu F. U. (2017). Trachoma elimination in Yobe state Nigeria: Will it be a ''SAFE'' end or dead end in 2020. Int J Ophthalmic Pathol, 6:5. DOI: 10.4172/2324-8599-C1-006.  (Published Abstract)

Number of items: 9.

Article

Ukachukwu, Faith Uche, Rafiq, Afshan and Snyder, Lori A. S. (2021) Challenges in treating ophthalmia neonatorum. Expert Review of Ophthalmology, 16(1), pp. 19-32. ISSN (print) 1746-9899

Anonye, Blessing O., Nweke, Valentine, Furner-Pardoe, Jessica, Gabrilska, Rebecca, Rafiq, Afshan, Ukachukwu, Faith, Bruce, Julie, Lee, Christina, Unnikrishnan, Meera, Rumbaugh, Kendra, Snyder, Lori A. S. and Harrison, Freya (2020) The safety profile of Bald's eyesalve for the treatment of bacterial infections. Scientific Reports, 10, p. 17513. ISSN (online) 2045-2322

Conference or Workshop Item

Ukachukwu, Faith, Alany, Raid and Snyder, Lori (2021) Evaluation of a monoglyceride for antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. In: Annual Conference Online 2021; 26 - 30 April 2021, Held online. (Unpublished)

Ukachukwu, Faith, Alany, Raid and Snyder, Lori (2021) Investigating fatty acid compounds towards developing antimicrobial therapies against infections of staphylococcal origin. In: Early Career Scientist Research Symposium 2021; 22 - 26 Mar 2021, Held online. (Unpublished)

Ukachukwu, Faith, Alany, Raid and Snyder, Lori (2021) Novel antimicrobial fatty acids as potential new lines of treatment against antibiotic resistant gonococcal infections. In: Antimicrobial Chemotherapy Conference 2021; 02-03 Feb 2021, Held online. (Unpublished)

Ukachukwu, Faith, Rafiq, Afshan, Calder, Alan, Menkiti, Jude, Horsburgh, Emily, Jorge, Erik, Sookdawar, Chetna, Anwar, Sadar, Siwoku, Opeoluwa, Sriskantharajah, Vajiharan and Snyder, Lori (2020) Exploring novel antimicrobials to treat resistant gonococcal infections. In: Neisseria gonorrhoeae Research Society (NgoRS) 2020 Virtual Conference; 21 - 24 Oct 2020, Held online. (Unpublished)

Ukachukwu, Faith, Snyder, Lori and Alany, Raid (2020) Fatty acids as novel treatment options for 'Pseudomonad' and 'Staphylococcal' infection. In: Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2020; , cancelled due to COVID-19. (Unpublished)

Snyder, Lori, Ukachukwu, Faith [Contributor], Calder, Alan [Contributor], Rafiq, Afshan [Contributor], Horsburgh, Emily [Contributor], Jorge, Erik [Contributor], Sookdawar, Chetna [Contributor], Anwar, Sadaf [Contributor], Siwoku, Opeoluwa [Contributor] and Sriskantharajah, Vajiharan [Contributor] (2020) Antimicrobial fatty acids to combat antibiotic resistant 'Neisseria gonorrhoeae' infections. In: British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy Conference 2020; cancelled due to COVID-19. (Unpublished)

Ukachukwu, Faith [Speaker], Rafiq, Afshan and Snyder, Lori (2019) Antimicrobial activity of natural oils against Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In: Antimicrobial Drug Discovery from Traditional and Historical Medicine. Microbiology Society Focused Meeting 2019; 29 October, 2019, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Fri Jul 1 05:54:11 2022 BST.

Conference papers

Ukachukwu F. U. (2013). Low vision management: maximizing functional vision in albinos. In Ophthalmologist Society of Nigeria (OSN) Lagos Conference, 2013.

Ukachukwu F. U (2014). Pearls for Low vision evaluation. In Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) Lagos Conference, March 2014. 

Ukachukwu F. U. (2017). Trachoma elimination in Yobe state Nigeria: Will it be a ''SAFE'' end or dead end in 2020. In 2nd International Conference and Expo on Optometry and Vision Science,  Sept. 11 - 12, 2017.