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Mechanical Engineering – Biology Collaborative Independent Study For Students For Research On Controlling The Biofilm Formation
A group of students from the Mechanical Engineering and Biology Department are united under an independent study class and creating a collaborative environment oriented to investigate different possibilities to control the fungi adhesion and biofilm formation on different medical device surfaces. Students are performing literature search in order to gather specialized knowledge from published sources and investigate the development and inhibition of Candida Spp. (Candia albicans and Candida auris) which are the most common sources of fungal infections in humans. Developing different types of coatings with antimicrobial and antibiofilm agents is a promising approach that can inhibit the initial attachment of planktonic cells on the surface. Students are exposed to “hands on” activities in the mechanical engineering area and are using applied knowledge to solve biology related problems. Direct current high vacuum dual magnetron sputtering system is used for coating commercially available micron size porous materials at low temperatures (room temperature) with micron size silver and copper thin films. Students are learning to develop and monitor the coatings formation and the resulted coated materials are used for further investigations. Candida strains are evaluated for copper, silver coatings, and also for MXene (two-dimensional transition metal carbides, carbonitrides and nitrides) using separate methods. Students are working in a multi-disciplinary team, designing and conducting their experiments under the professors’ guidance. The independent study class is evidencing how the engineering methods are able to impact and find solutions to contemporary biological problems. Students are gathering results and learn how to organize their data in a professional manner. They also learn to communicate their research effectively graphical and oral for students and professional conference presentations.