Catalyst Projects provide support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities to work towards establishing research capacity of faculty to strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics undergraduate education and research. It is expected that the award will further the faculty member’s research capability, improve research and teaching at the institution, and involve undergraduate students in research experiences. This project at Fayetteville State University intends to look at soil microbes and identify the chemicals they produce to kill bacteria. The identification of these microbes and chemicals will have implications in understanding biological films. Fayetteville State University undergraduate students will have the opportunity to perform research.
The goal of the proposed study is to collect soil from various environmental areas such as oceanic, mountainous, and natural preserve regions, define the physiological cultural conditions and identify the chemistry of small molecules bacteria produce in efforts to understand how these organisms kill other bacteria, particularly ESKAPE pathogens, while not harming themselves. The specific objectives of the proposed research are 1) to identify and characterize the physical and chemical properties of antimicrobial producing soil microbes that inhibit safe-ESKAPE relative strains, and 2) determine the effect of soil microbes on biofilm formation, dispersal and gene expression of safe ESKAPE relative strains. The findings from the research outlined in this proposal will enhance our understanding of microbe-microbe interactions and further advance the knowledge of antibiotic discovery using a tried and true method of mining soil microbes coupled with a metagenomic and computational approach. The implementation of the proposed research will provide an opportunity for underrepresented groups to gain hands-on research experience, access state of the art equipment as well as cutting edge techniques through the collaboration with UNC Chapel Hill and develop a collaborative network of student researchers and faculty.
This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.