College of Science
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Who is Dr. Tzeng?
Dr. Tzeng received his undergraduate training at the Department of Food Science, Tunghai University, Taiwan. He completed his graduate training and earned a PhD in Microbiology at the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, Clemson University, USA. Dr. Tzeng has taught microbiology courses at all levels. His research interests focus on the development of non-antibiotic approaches for the prevention and treatment of microbial infections. The long-term goal of his research is to develop prevention and therapeutic approaches to reduce, augment, enhance, or replace the use of antibiotics. The approach he takes to achieve the goal is to study the microbe and host interactions as well as the mechanisms enabling the microorganisms to be resistant to the actions of antibiotics. Understanding of these interactions and resistance mechanisms will enable us to develop effective disease prevention and treatment methods. He has published 70+ manuscripts and received funding from USDA, NSF, NIH, Army, and private sectors and collaborated with physicians in Prisma Health.
For more information, see his college profile.
How Dr. Tzeng's research is transforming health care
Increasing incidences of multi-drug resistant bacteria is posing a big threat in current clinical and healthcare settings. Attachment of bacterial pathogens onto the surface of mammalian cells is one of the foremost events in host-pathogen interactions. Several pathogenic bacteria are able to adhere onto specific host-cell receptors via carbohydrate binding proteins, also called adhesins or lectins. If these binding interactions are inhibited/interrupted then the chances of getting infection is greatly reduced. We have previously shown that nanomaterials functionalized with adhesin-specific carbohydrates resulted in bacteria-nanomaterial aggregates that caused a significant reduction in colony forming units. We have also synthesized and demonstrated that adhesin-specific iron-oxide nanoparticles conjugated with specific carbohydrates moieties that mimic host-cell receptors, would induce rapid clustering of bacteria in presence of these nanoparticles and when such aggregates of bacteria-nanoparticles complex are exposed to magnetically mediated energy delivery (MagMED), it would result in enhanced and selective inactivation/killing of that specific pathogen. This would enable us to treat infections caused by multiple-drug-resistant bacteria that are difficult to treat or untreatable with conventional antibiotic regiments. It would also enable us to target specific disease-causing pathogens without harming host cells or normal microflora.
News and Media related to Dr. Tzeng’s work
- Clemson grants $125,000 to support COVID-19 research - Clemson News
Health Research Expertise Keywords
Drug-resistant infections; alternatives to antibiotic; nanotechnology; iron-oxide mediated hyperthermia; adhesins; carbohydrate receptors; lectins