The poster presented by the undergraduate researchers (Margo Waters and Veronica Kalwatjys), explaining their work on a rationally designed, modular antimicrobial nanoparticle system was well received at COS-JAM 2018. Margo worked on the synthesis of the antimicrobial nanoparticles. Veronica has started testing the antimicrobial properties of these nanoparticles under the direction of Dr. Juliane Hopf. The antimicrobial peptides were sourced from Francisco Fields of Prof. Shaun Lee's lab.
In a time where we are facing an antibiotic resistance crisis, it is necessary to develop non-conventional antimicrobial substances. One possible route is the development of antimicrobial peptides on nanoparticles. The overall goal of our project is to determine if antibacterial peptides linked to antibacterial nanoparticles can completely inhibit bacterial growth. If we are successful, these particles have the potential to be coated onto orthopedic implants and surgical instruments, among others. The combination of antimicrobial peptides with nanoparticles will help to prevent infections following a surgery, thereby preventing the over-use of antibiotics. This could potentially decrease the development of new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.