Research Project Full Title: Inactivation of Legionella pneumophila harbored by amoebae using a nano-enabled alternative technology: Application and outreach to the Colonias in Texas
Principal Investigator(s): Navid Saleh
Researcher(s): Mary J. Kirisits, Desmond F. Lawler
Sponsor(s): National Science Foundation
Full Abstract: The overall project aims to develop an alternative irradiation-based nanotechnology using low-intensity microwave (MW) radiation to generate interfacial heat and reactive oxygen species (ROS) for the inactivation of L. pneumophila harbored by amoebae. First, amoebae will be lysed via interfacial heating, and, second, the released L. pneumophila will be inactivated by interfacial heating and ROS. The project will deploy fundamental nanoscience to develop a socially embedded water treatment technology that is appropriate for the colonias and other sites. The specific technical objectives of the overall project are to (i) synthesize, characterize, and test microwave-harnessing nanomaterials (carbon nanotube [CNT] nanohybrids with in situ formation of silver (highest heat conductive metal) nanoparticles (AgNPs), (ii) understand the mechanism of bacterial inactivation by this MW-based nanotechnology, and (iii) engineer two devices containing immobilized nanomaterials to effectively inactivate L. pneumophila in water from the Texas colonias and beyond. In the proposed REU project, the REU student will focus on the second objective.