Date of Defense

Fall 12-5-2000


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Richard VanEnk, Bronson

Second Advisor

McCarville, Chemistry

Third Advisor

Spitsbergen, Biology


bacteria, mutations, antimicrobial


The discovery of antibiotics stands as one of the greatest scientific achievements of the twentieth century. Antibiotics have eliminated the threat of death from many infectious diseases. This development has significantly increased life expectancy in the United States and throughout the world. Now our decades long reliance on antibiotics has created serious new health problems. New strains of drug-resistant microorganisms are endangering the lives of people around the world, creating conditions similar to those at the beginning of the twentieth century, when untreatable infections were a major cause of death. Numerous antibiotics currently exist and are being prescribed regularly: there are more than fifty penicillins, seventy cephalosporins, twelve tetracyclines, eight aminoglycosides, nine macrolides, and numerous other classes of antibiotics (10). Despite the large number of available antibiotics, patients are dying in hospitals as a result of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only