The ongoing rapid development and spread of antimicrobial drug resistance is a growing problem that demands novel solutions. We are developing new antimicrobial materials that are active against broad classes of bacteria and fungi. These systems make use of novel preparations of ultrathin two-dimensional materials encapsulated using ligands that are biocompatible or have their own antimicrobial activities. The resulting hybrid materials can attack and pierce microbial membranes via physical interactions but do not exhibit activity against human cell lines.

Testing of these materials has identified multiple that can combat gram-positive and gram-negative multidrug-resistant bacteria, while others are effective against drug-resistant fungi. Coatings prepared from these materials also retain their antimicrobial activity and can be used prepare surfaces and instruments that are resistant to microbial contamination.