Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

Committee Chair

Tatyana A. Sysoeva

Committee Member

John A. Mayo

Committee Member

Kunning G. Xu


Surgical instruments and apparatus--Sterilization, Drug resistance in microorganisms, Escherichia coli, Urinary tract infections--Prevention, Low temperature plasmas


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most abundant bacterial infections world-wide with over 10 million cases and 13,000 deaths each year in the United States alone. The use of urinary catheters in hospitals and in outpatients significantly increases the risk of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) that are promoted by uropathogenic biofilm formation. Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) is the dominant cause for both UTI and CAUTI, which are becoming increasingly multidrug-resistant. Uropathogenic biofilm accumulation on urinary catheters is very resistant to treatment by traditional sterilization methods. Cold atmospheric pressure plasmas (CAPP) have been known for their strong microbicidal properties towards many bacteria including non-pathogenic E. coli strains. This research project tests the feasibility of CAPP use as a model technique for sterilizing narrow, flexible tubing that could be sustainable for cleaning urinary catheters to overall reduce CAUTI burden.

Available for download on Thursday, December 11, 2025