Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Biomedical Engineering
Samuel B. Lum - Rochester Institute of Technology
Infectious diseases are responsible for more than 13 millions deaths worldwide. Bacterial biofilm account for 60% of these. Even within modern hospitals, infections occur often due to their vulnerability to biofilm formation on medical devices such as catheters. Their phenotypic behavior in vitro have been difficult to research and thus prevent. These pathogenic, and often impenetrable biofilms have become a grand challenge for healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. It has been shown extensively that nanomaterials like carbon nanotubes are able to effectively adsorb antimicrobial peptides, therefore there is a strong need to standardize the practice and translate them.
Development of a functional single-walled carbon nanotube array conjugated with a human-isolated therapeutic peptide, Cathelicidin LL-37, may hold a solution for antifouling and pathogenic catheter surfaces. This fabricated nanocomposite will target the boundaries conditions of urinary catheter, which has been fabricated as a major source of sepsis. It has been hypothesized that with a covalent biocojugation process, that the resulting surface will be highly resistant to biofilm production by methods of membrane disruption, proteolysis and chemotaxis of the immune system. Engineering of the surface include several design considerations including electrostatic interaction, hydrophobicity, therapeutic delivery and biocompatibility. Four highly common organisms, P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, P. epidermidis and C. albicans will be tested against the developed surface by placing them in a developed continuous flow system that can successfully simulate the urinary system, resulting samples will be characterized via confocal microscopy. Additionally, methods of joining sensitive nanomaterials on current and common medical plastics have been tested by means of rapid re-crystallization to cure into the nanolayers. This novel development will make way for more advanced biological studies including identification of gene expression, antimicrobial and antibiotic assays as well as protein nuclear magnetic resonance imaging for protein studies.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): RIT Biomedical Science Department RIT Honors Program RIT McNair/LSAMP Program
Faculty Advisor: Robert Osgood, Ph.D., email@example.com
Role: I am the student research leader of the group, responsible for beginning the research initially, and have a network of supporting professors within RIT that span through chemical engineering, material science, microsystems, biomedical and mechanical engineering departments. I have worked to recruit two other students who will be supporting the workload, all of them have opportunities to grow and learn an expansive set of methods. I have spent countless hours ensuring that every step in our experimental design is high standard and is critically considered.