Our Mission

"Paving the way to make treating skin infections convenient, comfortable, and dose efficient."

The Problem

Cellulitis is a skin infection that affects over 650,000 people annually in the United States alone. Characterized by redness, swelling, and pain, it occurs when pathogens (primarily Group A Streptococcus and Staphylococcus aureus) enter the through a break in the skin and infect the dermis, a deep layer of the skin.

cellulitis stats

Existing treatments deliver antibiotics through the circulatory system, via oral and intravenous administration. Although effective against cellulitis, this widespread distribution of antibiotics throughout the body can disrupt the body’s natural microbiome, causing side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

iv oral antibiotics

What's worse, the continued overuse of these antibiotics contributes to antibiotic resistance. Methicillin-resistant resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has already emerged in the past century as one of the most dangerous strains of S. aureus, directly causing more than 100,000 deaths in 2019.

To address the shortcomings of existing antibiotics, Virginia iGEM developed NiSkin!

NiSkin is a topical treatment with two parts: a powerful antimicrobial agent, nisin A, and a transdermal tag, TD-1. NiSkin’s purpose is to permeate through the skin to the dermis, activate only at the site of infection in the dermis, and specifically target S. aureus, reducing the risk of side effects and unfavorable interactions within the body.

nisin vs niskin

By presenting a method of localizing novel antibiotics to the site of infection, NiSkin will optimize the efficacy of cellulitis treatment and increase the number of treatment options available to cellulitis patients.

Promo Video:

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Project Description

Discover more about cellulitis, NiSkin, and how our project took shape.



See our results and the future in store for NiSkin.



Learn about the calculations and simulations we ran to test our product in real-world circumstances.


Human Practices

Dive into our outreach activities and learn how they helped shape our project’s goals and direction.



Catch up on all our activities and learn about the team’s journey.



Meet Virginia iGEM, a team of 10 undergraduates dedicated to turning an idea into reality.