Major and Classification
Steven Finkel, PhD., Professor of Biological Sciences
Dornsife: Biological Sciences
Research Gateway Project
“The Predictability of Antibiotic Susceptibility Using Genetic Mutations in Long Term Stationary Phase Escherichia Coli”
Escherichia coligrows in 5 phases, the last named long-term stationary phase (LTSP) where rapid mutations cause populations to rise and fall in a low nutrient environment and therefore cause LTSP E. colito phenotypically and genotypically look different from the original strain. This transformation of bacteria relates to the antibiotic resistance problem, as bacteria mutate and evolve to become drug resistant. To stop this crisis, researchers have synthesized new antibiotics, but mutations against the drugs eventually arose. Instead, analyzing LTSP E. colimutations to determine a correlation to antibiotic susceptibility may provide a better genomic understanding to combat this problem. Conducting such an investigation resulted in a supported correlation from LTSP E. coligenotype to their antibiotic phenotype. However, the data also revealed a clear divergence of certain samples from the parent strain to a new, more susceptible “strain”—explained by distinct mutations in the cell wall. Although research was performed only on the end of the 3-year LTSP E. coli, further investigation of earlier time-points will be pursued to determine when and how the divergence occurred. This type of genotype analysis may enhance the future application of drugs in prolonged bacterial infections and the understanding of antibiotic efficiency.