Loyola University Chicago

Department of Biology

Alexandria Cooper Project Description

The effects of treating Multispecies biofilms with Bacteriophage


Biofilms can be found in any environment within proximity to water and are problematic in an assortment of industries. Numerous efforts have been employed to dislodge biofilms including bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria). Phage remediation is a promising solution for combating biofilms that form on catheters in long term use patients. These biofilms often result in catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) and are the most common type of healthcare related infections reported. Additionally, they result in longer hospital stays and increased morbidity. To date, most of the research on the topic focuses on single species biofilms, despite their rarity in nature. Here we assess the efficacy of five phages and a phage cocktail to treat both homogeneous as well as heterogeneous, multi-species biofilms. The effects of phage treatment were assessed looking at both the absorbance as well as colony counts of both the biofilm and the planktonic fraction. Two phages, Greedy and phiKZ, had the greatest success in lysing bacterial cells and were thus selected for a phage cocktail treatment regimen. By evaluating the effects on both monoculture and multi-species biofilms, phage species can more accurately be assessed for their potential use in treating CAUTIs.



I would to thank Dr. Putonti and the members of her lab for all of their invaluable support and assistance from extractions and making plates to sanity checks. I would also like to thank the members of my committee, Dr. Kelly and Dr. Wheeler, for their guidance and suggestions. A special thanks to Dr. Kanzok for answering my endless questions about qPCR. To my fellow graduate students, thank you for being a sounding board for all of my frustrations. And finally I would like to thank my friends and family who never stopped believing in me and provided unconditional support.



Alexandria F. Cooper was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. She attended Loyola University Chicago for her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor’s of Science, she majored in Biology.



Dr. Catherine Putonti

Dr. John Kelly

Dr. Heather Wheeler