Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Biological and Irrigation Engineering


Catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTis) are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with life-threatening conditions. Foley catheters are the most common catheter used when a patient requires hospitalization but can become burdened with microbes which lead to CAUTis, the most common source of hospital acquired infection (HAI). The attached bacteria can form biofilms on the catheter which are difficult to treat using oral antibiotics and can lead to chronic infections. Synthetic spider silk as a catheter coating shows great promise because of demonstrated strength, biocompatibility, and antimicrobial properties. In addition, the antiseptic chlorhexidine can enhance the antimicrobial properties of synthetic spider silk coatings. This design project focused on creating a synthetic spider silk coated Foley catheter that met design needs dictated by catheter usage in nursing clinical practice guidelines. Foley catheters were coated with 6% w/v synthetic spider silk and 6% synthetic spider silk with chlorhexidine using five different coating protocols (spray, dip, aerosolize, dip and aerosolize, and spray and dip). Catheters were tested for increased antimicrobial properties by utilizing zone of inhibition testing. Mechanical testing included force of insertion measurements recorded on an MTS and a bend/bunch test created by the design team. SEM and AFM images were also taken in order to characterize the different coating methods. The final product introduces a novel approach to catheter coatings in an attempt to combat the threat of CAUTis.



Faculty Mentor

Timothy Taylor

Departmental Honors Advisor

V. Dean Adams