STUDENT SPOTLIGHT | MARCH 2021
Major: Microbiology with a minor in both chemistry and astrobiology
Describe your research/creative work in just a few sentences that we can all understand: I research how the bacterial species Pseudomonas aeruginosa thrives in cystic fibrosis patients treated with the antibiotic tobramycin. More specifically, I am investigating how the P. aeruginosa bacterium with the inability to communicate with each other are increasingly resistant to antibiotics compared to those that can communicate.
Q: Who mentors your project?
A: My project is under the direction of Dr. Josephine Chandler.
Q: What surprised you about doing a larger research or creative project?
A: How much planning ahead of time is involved. If I want to do a seemingly easy step one day, I may need to do a series of other steps days in advance in preparation. Also, I found it surprising just how many research articles that should be read while working on your project, even if they are just focused on a single concept involved in your work rather than the project as a whole.
Q: What did you find most challenging about getting involved in or doing your project? What advice would you offer to students facing similar challenges?
A: The most challenging aspect of my research project would probably be overcoming the unexpected failures. Unfortunately in research, no matter how much planning you do, something is bound to fail or go awry at least once, even if you did your part correctly. When it does, I would say the best thing you can do is try to figure out what caused the project to go wrong as well as what you could do differently next time.
Q: What do you like most about your project?
A: One aspect I really like about my project is seeing how all of these different genes and proteins interact together to benefit the organism in which they are found. I also enjoy making connections between my classes and the experiments I perform.
Q: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to get involved in research?
A: I would say get to know your professors, even if it is just going to their office hours every once in a while. This shows you are not only committed, but also interested in what they have to say. Even if they themselves do not have a position for a research assistant at that point in time, one may open up later of they could refer you to another professor that does.
Q: How do you spend your time when you're not working on your research?
A: When not working on my project I enjoy reading, playing my guitar, and working out.