Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Microbiology and Immunology


Clostridium difficile is a Gram-positive, spore forming bacterium and an opportunistic gastrointestinal pathogen. Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is a common nosocomial infection. Upon antibiotic treatment, patients can be colonized with C. difficile from ingestion of spores. After colonization, cells produce toxins creating symptoms from diarrhea to pseudomembranous colitis, and many patients develop recurrent infections. Interactions between host epithelium and the bacteria is a critical step in infection, yet the interaction is not well understood. It is not known how C. difficile evades host immune responses. These are important mechanisms to answer in advancing CDI treatment. A biofilm could contribute to CDI by facilitating attachment to host epithelium; by resisting host defenses and antimicrobials; by accumulating toxin; and by harboring spores for recurrence. This thesis aims to characterize the C. difficile biofilm by determining biofilm structure, identifying matrix components, determining the role of extracellular DNA in biofilm structure, and quantifying toxin in the matrix.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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