Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Valerie E. Cadet, PhD

Second Advisor

Kimberly Baker, PhD

Third Advisor

Abigail Hielscher, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Richard E. White, PhD, FAHA


Antibiotics have become a regularity in human life. Discovered accidentally, they proved to be vital to public health. Since then, they have become integrated into a variety of widely used products such as detergents, soaps, and clothes. Unfortunately, the overuse of antibiotics as a precautionary tool for the betterment of public health has led to an era in which bacterial strains have evolved resistance and antibiotics are becoming increasingly useless. For example, Enterococcus faecalis, one of six ESKAPE pathogens prevalent in nosocomial infections, is commonly found in the GI tract, but frequently causes infections leading to endocarditis, urinary tract infections, and meningitis. E. faecalis is multi-drug resistant, making it difficult to control once an infection arises. It’s resistance against vancomycin, however, has drawn the most attention. Vancomycin is currently the only line of defense against many pathogenic bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus. It is possible for E. faecalis to transfer this resistance to other pathogens that it comes into contact with, such as S. aureus.

The purpose of this study is to determine whether a new source of antibiotics, which could defend against E. faecalis, may be identified from pathogens found at a location that has been sparsely examined. Soil from Radium Springs in Albany, Georgia has been filtered, cultured, and assessed for antibiotic secretions using a diverse array of methods. Preliminary results show a modest level of E. faecalis inhibition by secretions from soil pathogens incubated at 37℃ under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions using a low-nutrient medium, R2A agar. These methods will aid with culturing a wide variety of bacteria in an array of different conditions in hopes of identifying a usable source of antibiotics, capable of competing with aggressive and pathogenic bacteria such as E. faecalis.