Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2011
Mentor: Danielle Robertson, O.D., Ph.D.
Room number: E7.234B
Mail Code: 9057
Phone number: 8-3416
Project title: Neutrophil-enhanced bacterial biofilm formation on silicone hydrogel contact lenses
Human subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): STU 092010-057
Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable):
Project Type (patient-based research, animal-based research, or basic research; this characterization is only to permit a general classification for grouping similar types of projects)
Brief Description of Project:
Increased adherence of bacteria to contact lens surfaces has been repeatedly identified as an initiating factor for contact lens-related microbial keratitis and other significant lens-related adverse events, including contact lens acute red eye, contact lens peripheral ulcer and infiltrative keratitis. In animal models of infection, robust neutrophil accumulation in the cornea occurs in response to lens wear with concurrent bacterial challenge. Neutrophil necrosis and subsequent impaired clearance of neutrophil debris has recently been established as a key contributor to Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm formation on hydrogel and silicone hydrogel contact lenses in vitro and is associated with increased infectious bioburden in vivo. In this study, we plan to investigate the ability of the neutrophil response to enhance biofilm formation on contact lens surfaces using a standard test panel of bacteria commonly encountered in contact lens wear. The role of the student in this project will be to isolate neutrophils from healthy human volunteers and perform in vitro assays to (1) establish the ability of the different types of bacteria to form biofilms in the presence of neutrophils; and (2) test the efficacy of commercially available contact lens care solutions against neutrophil-enhanced biofilms on contact lens surfaces. Outcome measures include colony forming unit analysis and direct visualization of lens-associated biofilm using laser scanning confocal microscopy.
Previous Research Activities or Publications with Medical Students:
Thai Bui – presented research at the UTSW Medical Student Forum & Association for Research and Vision in Ophthalmology, published first author manuscript
Jerry Kalangara – presented research at the UTSW Medical Student Forum (selected for oral presentation and winner of best poster prize) & Association for Research and Vision in Ophthalmology, co-author on publication
Rebecca Baucom – presented research at the UTSW Medical Student Forum, co-author on publication