Public lecture: Inventor’s materials defeat bacterium; MRSA, water contaminants

Dr. Rico del Sesto, associate professor of chemistry at Dixie State University, St. George, undated | Publicity photo courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Bacteria, barnacles and bad water are among the problems that could be solved by a new substance being developed by Dr. Rico del Sesto, associate professor of chemistry at Dixie State University.

Del Sesto will address the Dixie Technical Association with his presentation, “Design of Materials to Defeat Robust Bacterial Defenses,” Friday at noon at the DSU Taylor Health Science Center, Room 156, at 1526 Medical Center Drive in St. George.

Del Sesto’s invention seems like a substance found only in science fiction, Dixie Techs Chair Joshua Aikens said.

“In addition to improving the quality of life for global populations,” del Sesto said, “we must address the threats we will face.”

For example, barnacles can be found in all marine environments and are a major problem for both small boats and large ships. Accumulation on the hulls can reduce the fuel economy of a vessel by up to 40 percent.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA, infection is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to antibiotics. Infections can spread and sometimes become life-threatening.

Fresh drinking water is rare in many developing nations. For example, China contains only about 7 percent of the world’s fresh water while sustaining nearly 20 percent of its population. It is estimated that 60 percent of China’s groundwater is either “bad” or “very bad.”

The Dixie Techs is a network of technology professionals and entrepreneurs in Southern Utah actively encouraging idea exploration and implementation, job expansion, peer mentorship and education in the technology sector. Those wishing to attend the free event may sign up online.

Event details and resources

  • What: Dixie Technical Association presents “Design of Materials to Defeat Robust Bacterial Defenses”
  • When: Feb. 6 at noon
  • Where: DSU Taylor Health Science Center, room 156, 1526 Medical Center Drive, St. George
  • Tickets: Free, register online
  • Dixie Techs website

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