Leslie Kent (Microbial Ecology)

Introduction:

Leslie Kent is a recent CBS graduate at the University of Minnesota. She works in Hunter Lab investigating how mucin (mucus) impacts the binding and growth of a bacterial pathogen known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which causes ventilator-associated pneumonia. Check out videos of Leslie and other SciPride researchers summarizing their research in the link below.

Fun Facts:

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the leading causes of ventilator-associated pneumonia, which commonly affects individuals with Cystic Fibrosis. 

Like many microbes, P. aeruginosa has the ability to form biofilms, which are large numbers of cells that form communities attached to a surface to form a protective layer around itself. Biofilms reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics, making this P. aeruginosa hard to remove once it enters the lungs and attaches to ventilators.

One way to detect P. aeruginosa is gram staining. In this method, bacteria are stained with multiple dyes.  Due to differences in cell membrane composition, bacteria are left with either a purple-violet stain or red stain. Gram staining serves as one of the most common methods to distinguish and identify bacterial specimens. P.  aeruginosa is gram-negative, which means it’s left with a red stain from the process.

Resources:

Microbial ecology of lungs video

FAQ sheet about biofilms and gram stains

Bacteria coloring sheets