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Researchers Advance Work to Fight Antibiotic Resistance with NSF Grant

by | Aug 13, 2018 | Research News

Researchers at the University of Arkansas have received a grant of $498,983 from the National Science Foundation to study the anti-microbial mechanisms of silver nanoparticles to look for ways these nanoparticles could be used to fight antibiotic-resistant infections.

Yong Wang, assistant professor of physics, and Jingyi Chen, associate professor of physical chemistry, are working with Mark Smeltzer, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. They will use an advanced imaging technique called super resolution fluorescence microscopy, which can achieve a resolution of 20 nanometers—10 times more powerful than conventional light microscopes—to observe the effects of silver nanoparticles on E. coli bacteria.

The powerful imaging system allows the researchers to observe the proteins, DNA and cell membranes of the bacteria and better understand how these are affected by silver nanoparticles.

“Previously, it’s been hard to visualize how the proteins in bacteria are arranged and how they move,” Wang said.

The researchers also plan to explore ways to increase the effectiveness of metal nanoparticles by making changes to their size, surface and shape.

About The Author

Camilla Shumaker is the director of science and research communications. She writes about physics, chemistry, political science and other topics. Camilla can be reached at camillas@uark.edu or (479) 575-7422.

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