Honors Program

Honors in Health Sciences: Human Health

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Sean J. Fox

Thesis Professor Department

Health Sciences

Thesis Reader(s)

Allan Forsman, Anna Hiatt


More so than ever, Multiple Drug Resistant (MDR) bacteria are on the rise due to overuse of antibiotics along with natural selection for adaptations that enhance drug-resistant properties. One particular bacterial family, Enterobacteriaceae, has been problematic, exhibiting several bacterial members that have developed a precipitous resistance to modern antibiotics and are also primary causative agents of nosocomial, or hospital acquired, infections. Citrobacter freundii (CF) and Enterobacter cloacae (ECL) are two species of the Enterobacteriaceae family causing significant medical concern due to their role in producing numerous opportunistic infections such as bacteremia, lower respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, and endocarditis. Adding to the difficulty of this situation is the ability of bacteria to produce biofilms. These biofilms are communities of bacteria that exhibit increased resistance to antibiotic treatment and eradication. Previous work in the laboratory of Dr. Fox at ETSU has identified an uncharacterized product secreted by Klebsiella pneumoniae (KP), another member of the Enterobacteriaceae family, which appears to have inhibitory effects toward CF and ECL. The current study was designed to characterize the effects this secreted product has on CF and ECL biofilms. Through a high throughput microtiter plate assay, the effects of this secreted product were examined on CF and ECL phases of biofilm attachment and maturation. Based on our findings, we have concluded that this secreted product can be categorized as a possible bacteriostatic agent against biofilm cell density, biofilm mass, and cell viability for both biofilm phases of attachment and maturation.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Withheld

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