An undergraduate synthetic biology team
One of the most pressing matters facing the medical community is the growing dilemma of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Due to their overuse, we have created bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and there are cases of bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics, so called “superbugs”, such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA). They pose an enormous risk to human health in the coming decades. We focused on utilizing the quorum sensing system of S. aureus to build a sensitivity switch, dependent on the concentration of the autoinducing peptide (AIP) that it uses to detect it’s population density, and become virulent and break away from the biofilm. Our system will hijack the system and trigger production of a phage that will specifically target S. aureus and deliver a kill mechanism. This system will be able to safely treat S. aureus and avoid perpetuating the problem of creating new resistant species.