Professor of Biology

B.A. - Augustana College
Ph.D. - University of Florida

Phone - 540-568-2286
Fax - 540-568-3333
Office - Bioscience 3028F

Office Hours

Courses:   General Microbiology (BIO 380), Medical Microbiology (BIO348)

Research Interests:  Microbiology and Immunology

Antibiotic resistant bacteria were first reported in the 1940s, several years after the clinical introduction of penicillin. Since then, antibiotic resistance has contributed to increasing bacterial infections, mortality rates, and treatment costs worldwide. The presence of antimicrobial resistant pathogens in hospitalized patients and on equipment threatens modern clinical practices such as organ transplants, chemotherapy, infant care, and surgery. Lack of effective antimicrobial treatments can lead to the spread of contaminants from equipment, healthcare employees, or infected patients to uninfected patients, prolonging hospital stays and increasing treatment costs. Current estimates put the costs of combating hospital-acquired antibiotic resistant infections at over a $1 billion dollars in the US alone. One way to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria is to kill them before they are able to infect humans (or other animals), rather than treating with antibiotics once one is infected. One promising alternative to traditional antibiotics is the development and use of antibacterial amphiphiles, compounds with both water-soluble and water-insoluble sections. These molecules can be used to treat surfaces such as those in hospitals, thereby eliminating the organism before it has a chance to spread to a patient.

My primary research focus is on an interdisciplinary project (with Kevin Caran, Ph.D., Chemistry and Biochemistry, JMU) involving the synthesis of various types of amphiphiles and testing them for antimicrobial activity. We also investigate the structure dependence and mechanism of antimicrobial activity of the synthesized compounds with the ultimate goal of developing a product that can effectively kill antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Note: underlines designate undergraduate authors from my lab, * designate Master’s students from my lab

Gallagher TM*, Marafino JN, Wimbish BK, Volkers B, Fitzgerald, G, McKenna K, Floyd J, Minahan NT, Walsh B, Thompson K, Bruno D, Paneru M, Djikeng S, Masters S, Haji S, Seifert  K, and Caran, KL. (2017) Hydra Amphiphiles: Using three heads and one tail to influence aggregate formation and to kill pathogenic bacteria. Colloids Surf., B., 157: 440-448.

Minbiole KPC, Jennings MC, Ator LE, Black JW, Grenier MC, LaDow JE*, Caran KL, Seifert K, Wuest WM. (2016) From antimicrobial activity to mechanism of resistance: the multifaceted role of simple quaternary ammonium compounds in bacterial eradication. Tetrahedron 72 (25):3559-3566.

Marafino JN, Gallagher TM*, Barragan J, Volkers BL, Ladow JE*, Bonifer K, Fitzgerald G, Floyd JL, McKenna K, Minahan NT, Walsh B, Seifert K, Caran KL. (2015) Colloidal and antibacterial properties of novel triple-headed, double-tailed amphiphiles: Exploring structure-activity relationships and synergistic mixtures. Bioorg Med Chem., 23(13):3566-73. (PMID:25936261)

Cockburn C, Amoroso M, Carpenter M, Johnson B, McNeive R, Miller A, Nichols AE, Riotto A, Rzepkowzski A, Croshaw CMS, Seifert K, and Vaidyanathan R. (2013) Gram-Positive Bacteria Isolated from the Common Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius L. Entomologica Americana 119(1 & 2):23-29. DOI: 10.1664/12-RA-042R.1

Seifert K, Gandia NC, Wilburn JK, Bower KS, Sia RK, Ryan DS, Deaton ML, Still KM, Vassilev VC, Laurie GW, McKown RL. (2012) Tear Lacritin Levels by Age, Gender, and Time of Day in Healthy Adults. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci., 53(10) 6610-6616. (PMID:22918641)

Grenier, MC, Davis, RW, Wilson-Henjum, KL, Ladow, JE*, Black, JW, Caran, KL, Seifert, K, and Minbiole, KPC. (2012). The antibacterial activity of 4,4′-bipyridinium amphiphiles with conventional, bicephalic and gemini architectures. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 22(12), 4055-4058. (PMID:22578455)

LaDow JE, Warnock DC, Hamill KM, Simmons KL, Davis RW, Schwantes CR, Flaherty DC, Willcox JAL, Wilson-Henjum K, Caran KL, Minbiole KPC, and Seifert K. (2011)  Bicephalic Amphiphile Architecture Affects Antibacterial Activity.  Eur. J. Med. Chem., Sep;46(9):4219-26. (PMID:21794958)

Seifert K, Fenster A, Dilts JA, and Temple L. (2009)  An Investigative, Cooperative Learning Approach to the General Microbiology Laboratory, Cell Biol. Educ., 8: 147-153. (PMID:19487504)

Seifert K, Hurney CA, Wigtil CJ, and Sundre DL. (2009) Using the Academic Skills Inventory to Assess the Biology Major. , Assessment Update, Volume 21(3): 1-2, 14-15.

Seifert KN, Adderson EE, Whiting AA, Bohnsack JF, Crowley PJ, and Brady LJ. (2006) A unique serine-rich repeat protein (Srr-2) and novel surface antigen (ε) associated with a virulent lineage of serotype III Streptococcus agalactiae. Microbiology, 152: 1029-1040. (PMID:16549667)

Seifert KN, McArthur WP, Bleiweis AS, and Brady LJ (2003) Characterization of group B streptococcal glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase: surface localization, enzymatic activity, and protein-protein interactions. Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 49: 350-356. (PMID:12897829)

Dorn BR, Burks JN, Seifert KN, and Progulske-Fox A (2000) Invasion of endothelial and epithelial cells by strains of Porphyromonas gingivalis. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 187: 139-144. (PMID:10856647)

Munce T, Seifert K, and Spencer CN 1998. Comparative energy flow to the fish community in a prairie system and a forested stream using growth rate and stable isotope analysis. Proc. S.D. Acad. Sci. 77:29-40.

Awarded Patents

“Antimicrobial Amphiphiles and Methods for Their Use”, Inventors: Minbiole, Caran, Seifert. Patent #US 8,980,925, Granted February 17, 2015.

"Methods and Compositions for Diagnosing and Preventing a Group B Streptococcal Infection", Inventors: Brady, Seifert, Adderson, Bohnsack.  Patent #7,588,773, Granted September 15, 2009.

Provisional Patents

"Novel Triscationic Amphiphile Compounds, Compounds Having a Pendent Alcohol Group, Compositions Thereof, and Methods for Making Same”, Inventors: Caran, Seifert. Provisional Patent Application 62/199,937. Filed on July 31, 2015

"Novel Triscationic Amphiphile Compounds, Compositions, and Methods for Making Same”, Inventors: Caran, Seifert. Provisional Patent Application #62/068,575. Filed on 10/24/2014.

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