Honors Program

Honors in Health Sciences: Microbiology

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Dr. Sean James Fox

Thesis Professor Department

Health Sciences

Thesis Reader(s)

Dr. W. Andrew Clark, Olivia Egen, Dr. Sean James Fox


A breach of the skin barrier, due to a burn wound, facilitates colonization by various microorganisms. Burn wounds can become colonized from the patients’ own skin flora, respiratory tract, or with exogenous bacteria from the environment. Strategies to treat burn wound infections are multipronged: removal of the infected necrotic tissue, wound dressing to protect the damaged area, and treatment with specific antimicrobials to prevent reinfection. The development of chronic infections, which could potentially lead to sepsis, depends largely on how well the microorganisms form biofilms within the wound. There are numerous antimicrobial gels and antibiotics that help prevent a burn wound from becoming infected, as well as, eliminate an already infected burn wound. However, global antibiotic resistance by microorganisms to these treatments has greatly increased, and it is imperative that new antimicrobial agents be formulated before infections become untreatable. Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Escherichia, Candida, Citrobacter, and Klebsiella are common causative agents of burn wound infections and are becoming increasingly resistant to antimicrobial medications. A newly synthesized antimicrobial gel compound (AGC) has shown promise in preventing growth of various bacteria and fungi commonly associated with burn wound infections. This study evaluated the activity of the AGC on a panel of Gram-positive and Gram- negative bacteria, and the fungi, Candida albicans, which represent the top ten causative infectious agents of burn wounds. The AGC reduced, to varying degrees, the microorganism’s growth, cell viability, and cellular metabolism. This novel antimicrobial compound shows promising potential as an effective option for prevention and treatment of infections in burn wound victims to avoid sepsis.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Withheld

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