Abstract by Christena Bentley

Personal Infomation

Presenter's Name

Christena Bentley

Degree Level



Dr. William Pitt
Dr. Robert Davis
Dr. Elisabeth Gates
Amanda Howard
Fischer Summers

Abstract Infomation


Physics and Astronomy

Faculty Advisor

Robert Davis


Rapid Bacterial Capture Through Modified Magnetic Nanoparticles


Sepsis, often caused by a bacterial infection in the blood, currently requires 24-72 hrs for diagnosis due to the long time required for blood culturing (Clin Infect Dis 56:1614-1620). However, sepsis can prove fatal if proper treatment is not administered quickly. While waiting for blood sample analysis to complete, patients receive antibiotics empirically, which can result in ineffective antibiotics and side effects that increase risk of death. Sepsis has a mortality rate of 13-77% (Virulence 5:4-11), correlates to more than 38,000 fatalities per year, and is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States (Natl Vital Stat Rep 65:1-122). We are rapidly increasing the rate of correct diagnosis to be within 3 hrs, by using magnetic nanoparticle (MNP) extraction of infectious bacteria without blood culture. This requires coupling MNPs with zinc-coordinated bis-dipicolylamine, a molecule with a chemical affinity to bacteria (Nano Lett. 14: 1-5). With modified MNPs, we have extracted infectious bacteria with 80-95% efficiency. We continue to improve MNP synthesis and subsequent bacteria capture with the goal to implement our technique in clinical settings.