Journal of Undergraduate Research


isolation, novel lytic phage, MRSA, staphylococcus aureus


Life Sciences


Microbiology and Molecular Biology


The bacterium Staphylococcus Aureus is the cause of a serious skin disease that is known to cause life-threatening infections such as pneumonia, endocarditis, meningitis, sepsis, bacteremia, and toxic shock syndrome [1]. Nonetheless, most SA infections are readily remedied via antibiotic treatment with methicillin. However, over the course of frequent exposure to various antibiotics, the bacteria have evolved a mutant strain (MRSA) that is completely resistant to the drug. In 2005 an estimated 11,000 deaths occurred that can be attributed to SA, with the majority caused by MRSA isolates [2]. Albeit the mutant is named MRSA, isolates of this strain are usually resistant to all known antibiotics with vancomycin being the common exception. Approximately half of all SA infections in the United States are resistant to penicillin, methicillin, tetracycline, and erythromycin [3]. The need for antibiotic alternative treatment for MRSA, i.e. phage therapy, is becoming increasingly crucial as there are few drugs left that the bacteria (such as vancomyocin) has yet to develop resistance towards; once MRSA has acquired such immunities, phage therapy may become the only feasible method of treatment for this bacterial infection. The primary mission of my project is to isolate numerous samples of phage from natural sources that are highly virulent and also have a broad tropism with respect to MRSA strains. We plan to aggregate these phage into a specialized cocktail used to treat and eradicate the bacterium MRSA in infected patients. Once isolated, these phage isolates will have their genomes sequenced (to determine novelty) and thereafter published.

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