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Campus News / News

Rockford University faculty and students research published in noted peer-reviewed journal

11/17/2016 12:27 pm

Rockford University professors Matthew Bork, Ph.D., (Assistant Professor of Chemistry) and Troy Skwor, Ph.D., (Associate Professor of Biology), along with alumnae Stephanie Klemm ’16, Brianna Schardt ’14, and Stephanie Blaszczyk ’13 have collaborated on several years of research that focuses on alternative treatments against multiple drug-resistant strains of bacteria. Klemm, Schardt and Blaszczyk also co-authored the study. The group’s findings have been published in the ‘Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, B’ in the research articles titled: “Photodynamic inactivation of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli: A metalloporphyrin comparison.”

Considering the exponential rise in antibiotic resistance amongst bacteria, this study identifies a novel way to kill antibiotic resistant bacteria using chemicals excited by light as an alternative treatment. Dr. Troy Skwor adds, “Bacteria are continuing to demonstrate antibiotic resistance at a speed that has physicians and the science community seriously worried. With more than 2 million infections a year in the United States demonstrating antibiotic resistance an alternative treatment is critical. Our research demonstrated the use of LED lights with a slightly modified natural chemical could kill over a million MRSA bacteria in less than 15 seconds. This type of treatment would be localized so minimal side effects unlike other antibiotics.”

According to the study, antibiotic resistant bacterial infections result in 23,000 and carries with it an economic burden of $20 billion  in healthcare-associated costs annually. Additionally, $35 billion is lost due to decreased productivity. The last half century has seen an alarming increase of anti-microbial resistance in both humans and animals. It’s believed the rise in resistantance can be traced back to inappropriate use, closer proximity of human and animals, and the improper disposal of antibacterial drugs.

Klemm, Schardt and Blawzczyk continue to pursue careers in the scientific community. Stephanie Klemm, RN, BSN is currently applying for to the doctorate nursing programs; Brianna Schardt is pursing options for graduate programs in opthamology; and Stephanie Blaszczyk is a pharmacy doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin- Madison.