Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

David P. Allison

Contact Info

ResearchAllisonDavid P. Allison
Research Professor

Office: ORNL Bldg. 1061 Rm. 204
Lab: ORNL Bldg. 1060 Rm. 111


Research Statement

High-Resolution microscopy has always been an important research tool in my Laboratory first using electron microscopy starting in 1966 and then with scanning probe microscopy starting in 1986. My interest in science at the nanoscale has led me toward nanoparticles and their possible applications in addressing the problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Late in the 1940s, Penicillin was the first antibiotic developed to treat bacterial infections. This so called “magic bullet” was going to put an end to all bacterial infections, but unfortunately this was not the case. Today we have more and more bacterial species becoming multidrug resistant with some species becoming completely resistant to antibiotics. Although the search for new antibiotics is ongoing, the fertile ground for finding and developing new antibiotics is limited. With this in mind we are looking toward alternatives to antibiotics to treat microbial infections. Our approach includes targeting nanoparticles to microbial surfaces or integrating particles into devices such as implants, artificial joints, catheters, and shunts placed within the human body. Nanoparticles that respond to magnetic induction (iron oxide) can be remotely heated to kill bacteria. Nanoparticles such as gold, silver, or platinum that absorb light in the near infrared region (NIR) can also be remotely heated by laser to kill bacteria. Both NIR and magnetic induction penetrate deep within the body without destroying healthy tissue and are currently used in the hyperthermic treatment of cancer.


Home Page:

Selected Publications

Mortensen, N. P., Boisen, N., Carey, S., Kennel, S. J., Fowlkes, J. D., Doktycz, M. J., Nataro, J. P., Allison, D. P. (2013) “ Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli: Surface protein dispersin increases bacterial uptake of ciprofloxacin.” Inter. J. of Antimicrobial Agents 2(5): 462-465.

Allison, D. P., Mortensen, N. P., Sullivan, C. J., Doktycz M. J. (2010) “ Atomic Force Microscopy of Biological Samples” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Nanomedicine 2(6): 618-634.

Suresh, A. K., Pelletier, D. A., Wang, W.,  Broich, J. L.,  Moon, Ji-W., Hurst, G. B.,Gu, B., Allison, D. P.,  Joy, D. C., Phelps, T. J., M. J. Doktycz., (2010) “Biofabrication of discrete homogeneous spherical gold nanoparticles using the metal-reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis.” Acta. Biomaterialia. 7(5): 2148-2152.

Doktycz, M. J., Sullivan, C. J., Hoyt, P. R., Pelletier, D. A., Wu, S.Allison, D. P. (2003) “AFM imaging of bacteria in liquid media immobilized on gelatin coated mica surfaces,” Ultramicroscopy, 97(1-4), 209-216.

D. P. Allison, P. Hinterdorfer, and Wenhai Han, (2002). “Biomolecular Force Measurements and the Atomic Force Microscope” Current Opinion in Biotechnology 13, 47-51.