Biofilms Student Research Projects

All FRI students present their research posters at campus events. Each cohort presents two posters, the first is a pre-proposal developed in the fall first-year Research Methods Seminar. The second poster represents results from the research proposed in the spring first-year course and then conducted in the fall second-year course. These posters are presented at a public session at the annual FRI Research Day in December. At that event, each student team has an opportunity to talk with other faculty and students about their research results.

Microbial Biofilms in Human Health Research Themes

The Microbial Biofilms in Human Health research stream focuses on broadening our understanding of bacterial (a) biofilm development, (b) virulence and pathogenesis, and (c) antimicrobial resistance mechanisms for important biofilm-forming pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Propionibacterium acnes and others. Ultimately, the goal is to generate knowledge that can contribute to novel biofilm-control techniques and biofilm treatment strategies in the future.

Bacterial Biofilm Development and Impact: Figure depicts the standard bacterial biofilm developmental life cycle which is a major focus of the Microbial Biofilms in Human Health research stream. Understanding and applying this understanding is important to attempt to control the varied negative impacts microbial biofilms can have to our health, economy, and day to day lives.

Cohort 9 2022-23 in Fall 2022, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Antibacterial efficacy of electrosprayed surfaces
  • Catheter coating for preventing urinary tract infections
  • Creating synthetic vesicles using microfluidic devices
  • Antibiofilm agents for the treatment of cystic fibrosis lung infections
  •  Investigating the efficacy of active and passive dispersion methods

Cohort 8 2021-22 in Fall 2022, as second-year students (research results)

  • Characterization of motility and susceptibility of ɑ-amylase dispersed cells in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Exploring the impact of a diabetic environment on Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm dispersion induced by ɑ-amylase
  • Implications of relaxed selection towards antibiotic resistance in Enterococcus faecium
  • Investigating capacity of membrane vesicles to induce biofilm dispersion
  • Optimizing a continuous-flow model to support biofilm growth of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus

Cohort 8 2021-22 in Fall 2021, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Assessment of matrix proteins for use in a biofilm vaccine
  • Biomarkers for detection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm infections
  • Investigating the effectiveness of biofilm disrupting agents in combination with acne treatments
  • Microbial biofilms in a simulated microgravity environment
  • The role of protective biofilms as a treatment against joint replacement infections

Cohort 7 2020-21 in Fall 2021, as second-year students (research results)

  • Comparing inhibitory ability of outer membrane vesicles from Pseudomonas aeruginosa at various stages of growth
  • Inhibition of biofilm development through peptide Interference
  • Inhibiting biofilm-specific tolerance via peptide interference
  • Investigating the relationship of cis-2-decenoic acid and outer membrane vesicles in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Investigating the Pseudomonas quniolone signal as a primary inducer of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm dispersion

Cohort 7 2020-21 in Fall 2020, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • "Maskne": COVID-19 masks as a causative factor of acne vulgaris
  • Biofilm formation on medical devices utilized during pregnancy and delivery
  • Preventing dispersion in microbial biofilms
  • Prevention of oral biofilm attachment based on signaling methods
  • The role of outer membrane vesicles in dispersion of biofilms

Cohort 6 2019-20 in Fall 2020, as second-year students (research results)

  • Analysis of Pseudomonas quinolone signal and outer membrane vesicle production during varied biofilm dispersion responses
  • Assessing predation abilities of outer membrane vesicles from Pseudomonas aeruginosa planktonic, biofilm, and dispersed cells
  • Degradative enzyme abilities of outer membrane vesicles from Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms
  • Role of Pseudomonas quinolone signaling and outer membrane vesicle production in P. aeruginosa biofilm dispersion
  • The physiological role of outer membrane vesicles in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms

Cohort 6 2019-20 in Fall 2019, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Biofilm dispersion and antibiotic resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Comparing degradative enzymes released during Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm dispersion
  • Investigating enzymatic regulation of Cyclic-di-Guanosine Monophosphate in biofilm dispersion
  • The role of diffusible signal factors in regulation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa outer membrane vesicles
  • The role of outer membrane vesicles during Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm dispersion

Cohort 5 2018-19 in Fall 2019, as second-year students (research results)

  • Comparing microbiomes between acute and carrier group A Streptococcus pharyngitis
  • Discerning the Role of Biofilm in Atherosclerotic Plaques
  • Pathways Contributing to Dispersion-Related Phenotypes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Variation in outer membrane vesicle proteomes from Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms
  • Virulence of Outer Membrane Vesicles Produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa during Biofilm Dispersion

Cohort 5 2018-19 in Fall 2018, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Biofilm Treatment in Recreational Water Systems
  • Effectively Treating Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms in Burn Wounds
  • Elimination of Biofilms in the Food Industry: A Two-Step Approach
  • Effects of Different Treatment Methods for Biofilms on Toothbrushes
  • Oil Spill Remediation Using Bacterial Biofilms

Cohort 4 2017-18 in Fall 2018, as second-year students (research results)

  • Development of a Novel Quantification Method for Cyclic-di-GMP Using Bis(p-nitrophenyl) Phosphate
  • Development of a Novel Quantification Method for Cyclic-di-GMP Using cMANT
  • Pseudomonas Quinolone Signal Quantification During Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilm Development
  • Quantifying Outer Membrane Vesicles During Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilm Development
  • Role of the Type VI Secretion System on Virulence and Pathogenesis in Biofilm Dispersion

Cohort 4 2017-18 in Fall 2017, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Investigating OMV Biogenesis
  • Inhibiting Biofilm Formation on Contact Lens Cases Through Metallic Nanoparticles
  • Why So Clingy: Factors that Affect Biofilm Attachment
  • The Effects of External Stressors on Antitoxin Degradation & Persister Formation
  • The Great Awakening: Methods for Eradication of Persister Cells in Biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Using cyclic-di-GMP to stop the growth and spread of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Cohort 3 2016-17 in Fall 2017, as second-year students (research results)

  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa cis-2-decenoic acid induced biofilm dispersion: regulation of pseduomonas quinolone signal and outer membrane vesicle production
  • Gene conservation in biofilm formation genes of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli
  • The effect of cis-2-decenoic acid and dispersion on gene expression, pseudomonas quinolone signal, and outer membrane vesicles in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • The role of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Las and Rhl quorum sensing networks on development and persistence of dual-species biofilms with Staphylococcus aureus
  • Creating a Pseudomonas aeruginosa reporter strain to indicate native biofilm dispersion

Cohort 3 2016-17 in Fall 2016, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Ideal growth conditions of Staphylococcus aureus on medical devices
  • Which class of antibiotics is Pseudomonas aeruginosa most susceptible to?
  • Effectiveness of chlorhexidine at removing Streptococcus mutans on oral devices
  • Effectiveness of inhibitor molecules associated with Las and Rhl quorum sensing pathways in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • A comparative analysis of biofilms in chronic disease
  • Methods for decreasing persister cell populations in Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections

Cohort 2 2015-16 in Fall 2016, as second-year students (research results)

  • The inhibition of Staphylococcus aureus wild type biofilm growth by Pseudomonas aeruginosa wild type and lasI mutant biofilms
  • The effect of cis-2-decenoic acid, antibiotics, and the ppx gene on Pseudomonas aeruginosa persister cells
  • Cyclase expression, sagS, and its relation to biofilm development
  • Outer membrane vesicle contribution to antibiotic tolerance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Cohort 2 2015-16 in Fall 2015, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Synergism of bacteriophages and antibiotics in combating resistant P. aeruginosa and E. coli biofilms
  • Inhibition of quorum sensing using allicin and C-30 furanonc: how to “shut up” P. aeruginosa to prevent virulence
  • Polysaccharides that Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms employ to evade human immune system
  • Staphlococcus aureus and Streptococcus bovis involvement in endocarditis
  • Prevention of Staphylococcus biofilm formation on medical implants
  • Inhibition of Streptococcus mutans – creator of dental caries

Cohort 1 14-15 in Fall 2015, as second-year students (research results)

  • Role of pyruvate in biofilm formation and antibiotic tolerance
  • Role of ppx in reversion from persister state with use of cis-2-decenoic acid
  • Effect of adding cis-2-decenoic acid, dispersion inducer, on antibiotic efficacy against S. aureus biofilm bacteria
  • Formation and tolerance of PAO1 persister cells to antibiotic treatment
  • Outer membrane vesicles and antibiotic resistance

Cohort 1 14-15 in Fall 2014, as first-year students

  • Evaluation of hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite and ozone on removal of biofilms
  • BPA’s effects on species of amphibians, reptiles and fish
  • Evaluation of four small-scale water treatment systems in developing countries
  • Effect of poor hydration on runner’s performance
  • Hydraulic fracturing: effect on humans’ environment and methods of improvement