Kyndall Sirmons is a rising 3rd year student at FAMU. She is currently studying Biology (premed). Kyndall is currently participating in the MOAP program with Dr. Maren Roman as her advisor. Kyndall’s research focused on growing bacterial cellulose, which has many potential applications in the biomedical field.

Bacterial cellulose is an organic material that is produced by several species of bacteria, the most common being Komagataeibacter xylinus. The unique physical structure of bacterial cellulose gives it a greater water holding capacity and higher durability compared to plant cellulose. These properties in turn make bacterial cellulose an ideal candidate for application in the biomedical field. This project produces bacterial cellulose and then chemically modifies the surface of the bacterial cellulose through acetylation. This project seeks to determine the potential of surface-acetylated bacterial cellulose to be used as a material for a new antimicrobial wound dressing.

The bacterial cellulose is grown in Hestrin-Schramm media using petri dishes sized 100x15mm. The bacteria cultures are incubated at 28 degrees Celsius for 7 days. Once grown the cellulose is purified through a series of base and water washes. Then the surface of the pure bacterial cellulose is acetylated. The resulting material is then tested for antimicrobial properties using model non-pathogenic bacteria and for potential cytotoxicity using human skin cells.


Zachary Hartman

Zachary is a rising junior at VT and worked with GlycoMIP over the summer. He is studying biochemistry and worked with Dr. Richard Helm on a project looking at the cell wall structure of B. burgdorferi, the bacteria responsible for lyme disease.

His research this summer focused on the Lyme disease-causing bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, specifically its cell wall structure. Based on observations of Lyme disease symptoms occurring when components of the cell wall of B. burgdorferi were directly injected into a mouse model, it was clear that the cell wall of this bacteria is implicated in the mechanism of Lyme disease. There has also been a structural deviation from the norm observed in their cell wall. His work involved taking samples of this cell wall, purifying them, and analyzing their structures to determine the nature of this structural difference and how it may be related to understanding and treating Lyme disease.

MII Article

The VT Macromolecules Innovation Institute (MII) has written a feature story about the development of GlycoMIP.  They have released the feature article ahead of the publication of their Summer edition of the Intersections Magazine.  Please click here to read the article.