Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

Committee Member

Jeremy Tzeng

Committee Member

John Desjardins

Committee Member

Terri Bruce


Contamination of combat trauma wounds with environmental residues can lead to bacterial infection of orthopedic fractures, which causes delay and difficulties in patient treatment. The reported infection rate of the improvised explosive devices (IED) injuries is 91%, and biofilm formation on orthopedic implants can lead to chronic infection with a rate of 40% in fracture wounds. Designing orthopedic implants that can self-regulate local infection and biofilm formation is beneficial for these patients. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and biodegradable chitosan with local antibiotic (vancomycin) elution were deposited on the stainless steel and titanium implant samples (coupons) to reduce biofilm formation and bacterial infection. Staphylococcus aureus is the most common pathogen associated with orthopedic implant infections. S. aureus Seattle 1945 (ATCC 25923) strain was used to evaluate the antimicrobial and anti-biofilm properties of the modified metal coupons using methods such as crystal violet analysis, ultrasound water bath with viable cell counts and confocal laser scanning microscopy. The release rate of vancomycin from the coupons was determined by HPLC analysis of collected leachates from surface modified coupons. In vitro studies of antibacterial properties of the coupons showed that PTFE did not provide significant advantages against biofilm formation, but the incorporation of chitosan and vancomycin onto modified surfaces prevented biofilm formation on the coupons. Local drug-release profile of antibiotic doped chitosan showed the concentration of local vancomycin released within the first 48 hours was effective in preventing bacterial attachment onto the coupons.



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