Researchers Advance Work to Fight Antibiotic Resistance with NSF Grant

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – 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 J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: Fulbright College is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with 19 departments and more than 30 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

Yong Wang, assistant professor of physics
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-4313, yongwang@uark.edu

Camilla Shumaker, director of science and research communications
University Relations
479-575-5697, camillas@uark.edu

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