Concordia St. Paul News

June 7, 2016

Science Department Collaborates on Campus-Wide Bacteria Study

Students and faculty from Concordia University’s science department collaborated on a campus-wide research study during the spring semester that explored the prevalence of a specific bacteria found in humans.

CSP science faculty members Dr. Taylor Mach, Dr. Leanne Bakke, and Dr. Mandy Brosnahan, along with 17 research students, collected nasal swabs from students, faculty, and staff to find the percentage of adults on campus who carry a common bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus. Once found, the strain will be studied further to determine if it’s antibiotic resistant or if it makes specific toxins.

“This bacterium is known to colonize (live on) humans without causing disease, but it also can make a variety of toxins that would allow it to cause disease if given the right circumstances,” Dr. Brosnahan said. “We wanted to collect non-invasive swabs from volunteers and culture any bacteria that grows from those swabs.”

Of the 412 samples collected nearly half indicated the presence of Staphylococcus aureus and will be further analyzed this summer and fall. This ongoing study will eventually be presented at an off-campus conference and published as a full, comprehensive study.

“The results of the study will contribute to the general scientific knowledge about the prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus in humans, as well as the types of Staphylococcus aureus strains that are naturally carried in the population.” Dr. Brosnahan said.

First introduced to the Concordia community during a convocation presentation, this study highlights the expansion in research for science students and collaborative faculty research occurring in CSP’s science department.