Fighting Bacterial Infections Using Nanotechnology

Antibiotics have been extensively used since their commercialization in the late 1930s to treat patients suffering from a wide variety of infectious diseases. When utilized correctly, these drugs are extremely effective at reducing mortality rates and healing time, which makes them essential in the clinic today. Unfortunately, however, antibiotics have been used so prevalently over the last 80 years that the bacteria they were designed to kill have begun to evolve and adapt, rendering these drugs ineffective. Thus, alternative strategies to fight bacterial infections are sorely needed. This talk will cover several novel, nanotechnology-based approaches to combating these infections that are currently under development in the Webster Nanomedicine Laboratory at Northeastern University.

benBenjamin Geilich, PhD Candidate and IGERT Nanomedicine Fellow, received a BS in Neuroscience from Brown University. During his time at Brown, Ben served as the captain of the Stanford-Brown iGEM (international genetically engineered machines competition) team, and conducted research at NASA Ames in Mountain View, CA. After graduation, Ben was awarded a graduate assistantship to pursue his doctorate in Bioengineering at Northeastern University. Ben’s research with Dr. Webster focuses on various applications of nanotechnology and biomimetic systems to prevent and treat bacterial adherence and proliferation on indwelling medical devices. Currently, Ben is working on designing and commercializing polymersome nanocarriers with embedded metallic nanoparticles for use in treating antibiotic-resistant infections. Ben was recently awarded the Outstanding Engineering and Technology Research Award at RISE2015 and First-Prize Bionanotechnology Graduate Student Award by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.