Young Hun (Colin) Kim
Detecting and Quantifying Bacteriophage M13 on Human Skin
The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria necessitates alternatives to antibiotics for disease treatment. Bacteriophages, natural viruses that infect bacteria, are an under-utilized resource for treatment alternatives. Though studies have demonstrated the potential of phage therapy, the prevalence and composition of phages in human skin infections remain insufficiently understood. This lack of understanding comes in large part from the absence of a phage characterization protocol for human skin samples. In this project, we develop a protocol to detect and quantify E. coli phage M13 from human skin swabs. Using the PureLink Viral DNA/RNA Mini Kit and quantitative polymerase chain reaction, we have established a limit of detection for phage M13 at 106 PFU. Further phage quantitation will be conducted by Illumina high-throughput sequencing. Though this protocol targets the recovery of phage M13 only, it provides a preliminary model for skin swab metagenomics of other phages in the microbial wound community.