Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Julia Selezneva L&S Sciences

Characterizing Drug-Resistance Determinants in Gram-negative Bacteria from Blood Stream Infection

The core goal is to identify the origin of antibiotic drug-resistance determinants, with the hypothesis that drug-resistance determinants, in particular integrons carrying gene cassettes coding for drug resistance, from bacteria that is ingested through uncooked food (spinach, animal meat) can horizontally transfer to commensal bacteria in the human intestine, and under selective pressure of antibiotics, and ultimately lead to complicated multi-drug resistant bloodstream or urinary tract infections. Integrons are mobile genetic elements, found on transposons, plasmids and chromosomes that capture and express gene cassettes by site-specific recombination. This summer I will analyze bacteria isolated from bacteremia samples for prevalence of integrons using PCR, sequence and identify gene cassettes using bioinformatics such as BLAST, and compare results with those from spinach and animal studies.

Message To Sponsor

The SURF fellowship has truly been a motivational experience! From the startreading scientific literature, writing the proposal, meeting with my mentor, asking questions and advice from graduate studentsthe fellowship has provided a true learning experience, as it not only allowed me to further challenge and understand my research but also gave me an appreciation of the efforts involved in grant writing, troubleshooting, and researching that is not just bench work. I feel very motivated about this summer because the fellowship provides an opportunity to carry out what has been carefully planned, a framework to challenge my abilities as a scientist, present my work, and a chance to network with other students completing a broad range of projects in sciences and humanities. I am grateful to my mentor, graduate and undergraduate students in the Riley Lab for their advice, help, criticism and all the fun!
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Lee Riley, Public Health
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