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Sophomores work with CNSE on germ-resistant medical tools



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The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) is teaming up with Tech Valley High School students to reduce the number of hospital-borne infections.

Sophomores in Leah Penniman’s and Dee Weldon's biotechnology class are working with CNSE to design a way to reduce the number of infections transmitted on instruments, such as stethoscopes or surgical tools.

Specifically, Penniman said students are designing and testing topographies on the nano-scale that could be used in medical devices to discourage the adhesion of harmful bacteria.

They visited the college recently and are now working at TVHS to explore various ways to cutting down on bacteria transmission, said Penniman.

According to Nathaniel Cady of the CNSE, “hospital acquired infections are a major public health problem – in addition to the pain and suffering caused to patients, they are also very expensive to treat.”

They cost between $28 and $45 billion dollars each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Additionally, antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains, such as MRSA, have evolved that make treating infection much more complex.  

Students count bacteriaIn the top photo, students Cullen Utermark, from Schodack, and Libby Cass, from Guilderland, count bacteria on a nano-scale-sized surface.

In the bottom photo, students Rebecca Bulich, from Catskill, and Troy O'Neill, from Coxsackie, work on a lab.