Thomson, Joshua

Research Project: Isolation of bacteriophages that target and kill dental pathogens
Prerequisite: Students should be able to follow proper aseptic technique and practice proper pipetting skills.
Description: The objective of this research project is to discover and isolate bacteriophage that target and kill common dental pathogens, in particular, members of the Mutans Streptococci. The Mutans Streptococci consists of the primary organisms responsible for the initiation of dental caries, a dental disease that can result in tooth loss. Bacteriophage are viruses that specifically target and infect a bacterium, multiply, and eventually lead to lysis of the bacterium. Bacteriophage are the most abundant organisms in the world and can be found in any environment where the host bacterium grows. As antibiotic resistance in bacteria is on the rise, using the ability of bacteriophage to be specifically target and kill pathogenic bacteria has become an area of much interest. This research project will revolve around the discovery and characterization of bacteriophage specific to the Mutans Streptococci in saliva collected from volunteers using clinical strains of Mutans Streptococci.