Daniel Murdock


Daniel Murdock





Daniel Murdock was born and raised in Central Florida and has had a lifelong interest in the sciences. He is currently expressing, purifying, and characterizing key metabolic enzymes in Clostridium difficile as an undergraduate researcher in Dr. William Self's lab. He plans to pursue an MD degree and become a physician.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. William T. Self, Associate Director of Undergraduate Affairs & Associate Professor

Undergraduate Major

Biomedical Sciences

Future Plans

MD degree


Title: Expression, Purification, and Characterization of Clostridium Difficile Thioredoxin Reductase

PI: Dr. Self

Institution: University of Central Florida

Abstract: Clostridium difficile is a hospital-acquired pathogen responsible for a diarrheal condition that kills nearly 30,000 people in the United States annually. The use of broad-spectrum antibiotics disrupts the natural colonic bacterial flora, allowing C. difficile to grow and release toxins. Antibiotic resistance in some C. difficile strains has increased the importance of seeking out novel drug targets. One potential target is thioredoxin reductase (TrxR), an enzyme that allows C. difficile to utilize amino acids as a sole source of carbon and nitrogen. This occurs by Stickland fermentation reactions, which use amino acids as both electron donors and acceptors to harness energy for growth. We hypothesize that a recently identified natural product may be a potential inhibitor of TrxR. In order to test the impact of this natural product on TrxR function, the TrxR gene has been cloned, His-tagged, ligated into an expression vector, and expressed in Escherichia coli. Recombinant TrxR will be purified using affinity and size exclusion chromatography. TrxR accepts electrons from Stickland donors via NADPH, and this process will be characterized from a basic research perspective by measuring the spectral change of 5,5'-Dithiobis(2-nitrobenzoic acid) upon reduction at 412 nm in the presence of NADPH. The effects of the natural product on the activity of C. difficile TrxR will then be measured to determine if it holds therapeutic potential as a treatment for C. difficile infections.


Medicine and Health Sciences

Daniel Murdock