Assessment of a Novel Laboratory Activity to Enhance Student Learning on Disease Transmission

Marco DiSanto, Kari Brossard Stoos, Health Sciences Education, Ithaca College, 953 Danby Road, Ithaca NY, 14850

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common cause of bacterial pneumonia in patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). P. aeruginosa forms protective adhered communities called biofilms on the internal walls of plastic oxygen tubing used by CF patients. These biofilms are thought to be sources of infection; therefore biofilm removal from oxygen tubing is imperative. It is recommended that individuals with CF who use oxygen tubing, must clean their tubes every 5-7 days and purchase new sterile tubing once every 3 weeks. The recommended cleaning strategy involves soaking the oxygen tubing in a mixture of 10 parts water and 1-part vinegar followed by a rinse with hot water and dish soap to dislodge remaining bacteria. Based on these guidelines we developed an introductory microbiology laboratory exercise simulating biofilm growth and removal on oxygen tubing.  The purpose of the exercise is to teach the association of biofilms and biofilm removal to health of CF patients, to second year undergraduate Health students. Since P. aeruginosa is a Biosafety Level 2 organism and therefore considered a pathogen, we substituted it with E.coli K12 which is not considered pathogenic.  Biofilms of E.coli K12 were grown on oxygen tubing.  Students were separated into groups and each group was assigned specific cleaning instructions to apply to their tubing.  Post cleaning, the remaining biofilms in the tubes were stained and quantified.  Each assigned cleaning method resulted in some level of residual biofilm on the tube.  During the laboratory exercise students were asked critical thinking and analysis questions on biofilms and disease transmission and after the exercise students were surveyed regarding their learning styles and the impact of the exercise on their learning.  Survey data and assessment of critical thinking and analysis questions indicate that the exercise helped students reach higher levels of the Bloom’s Taxonomic hierarchy of learning. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Marco DiSanto

Institution: Ithaca College

Type: Poster

Subject: Health & Human Development

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 7
Date/Time: Tue 3:30pm-4:30pm
Session Number: 5127