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Nova Southeastern University
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Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

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Taking a Bite at the Shark Bite

NSU researchers study the bacteria of a shark’s mouth to improve medical treatment for shark bite victims

FT. LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla. — Researchers from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) are conducting a unique scientific study of bacteria found in the mouths of sharks to develop better medical treatment methods for shark bites victims.

file photo

Scientists from NSU’s College of Pharmacy working in collaboration with St. Mary’s Medical Center will be gathering data from sharks captured during The Blacktip Challenge, a 72-hour South Florida fishing tournament to fish blacktip sharks from the beach.  The tournament runs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 3.

In the last decade, Florida has consistently ranked amongst the highest worldwide in the number of shark attacks. The Sunshine State has accounted for about 25 percent of the approximate 100 incidents of reported shark bites a year.

Because of this, NSU researchers believe their findings are critical in helping the millions of ocean-goers each year that share the beaches and waterways with sharks. Their research, the first of its kind in the United States, could lead to groundbreaking research that will ultimately save lives from this tragedy.

“We are excited to gather scientific data from these incredible animals in order to learn more about the infecting bacteria from their bites and how to treat victims,” said Nathan Unger, Pharm.D., an assistant professor at NSU’s College of Pharmacy and the lead researcher on this project.


About NSU’s College of Pharmacy: The COP offers a challenging professional degree program of study in pharmacy that emphasizes the pharmaceutical sciences and patient-centered care. Presented with the use of innovative teaching modalities and the newest technology, the curriculum is designed to prepare pharmacy graduates for life-long learning and leadership capabilities as medication therapy managers in our nation’s healthcare system.  You will find our programs conducted by an exceptional, talented faculty committed to your education.  They, themselves, are agents of change in such diverse fields of research and practice as genomics, drug development, informatics, and pharmacotherapy.

About Nova Southeastern University: Situated on 300 beautiful acres in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University is a dynamic fully accredited institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs of distinction from preschool through the professional and doctoral levels. NSU has more than 28,000 students and is the sixth largest not-for-profit independent institution nationally. The university awards associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, doctoral, and first-professional degrees in a wide range of fields, including business, counseling, computer and information sciences, education, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, dentistry, various health professions, law, marine sciences, early childhood, psychology and other social sciences. For more information visit

Media Contact:
Ken Ma, MBA, NSU Office of Public Affairs
954-262-5408 (office), 954-621-7961 (cell),