B.S., 1993, Illinois State University
Ph.D., 2000, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Postdoc, 2000-2002, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
bacteria, antibiotics, immunology, spectroscopy, microbiology
New Strategies for Drug Resistant Infections
The 2020-2025 National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria calls for infection prevention through new strategies with innovative products and decolonizing agents to slow the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance genes and antibiotic-resistant pathogens. We answer this call with 600 Da branched polyethylenimine (600 Da BPEI) that has been modified with 350 MW polyethylene glycol (PEG350), forming PEG350-BPEI. This compound uses electrostatics to bind with, and neutralize, (1) Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) caused by the Gram-negative LPS layer; (2) AMR caused by Gram-positive cell wall and teichoic acids; (3) AMR caused by metallo-β-lactamases; (4) Release of pro-inflammatory cytokines in response to the Gram-negative pathogen associated molecular pattern molecules (PAMPs) LPS and peptidoglycan; (5) Release of pro-inflammatory cytokines in response to the Gram-positive PAMPs teichoic acids and peptidoglycan; and (6) Biofilms formed by Gram-negative pathogens; and (7) Biofilms formed by Gram-positive pathogens. These are major contributing factors to wound infections that often lead to bacteremia, sepsis, and death. Because PEG350-BPEI neutralizes virulence factors, it may be a useful therapeutic against wound infections by simultaneously providing anti-inflammation and infection prevention, in addition to anti-biofilm properties that assist with localized wound decolonization. This will reduce inflammation and tissue damage and accordingly will shorten the inflammatory phase of wound healing, lowering the chance that wound infections lead to bacteremia, sepsis, and death. Our laboratory employs a wide range of techniques based on biophysical and analytical chemistry plus collaborators that help us study molecular biology and immunology.