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  • Writer's pictureEnid Gonzalez-Orta

Humanity Always Finds a Way by Natalie W

I created this piece (done in colored pencil, graphite, and permanent marker) as a way to show all of the different streams of research that are in the works to combat the antibiotic shortage. As a student, I have been bombarded with the fear-inducing messages that we are about to re-enter the pre-antibiotic age where diseases we now can treat with antibiotics will once again be death sentences due to multidrug resistant pathogens. While this issue is important and the threat is real, many people forget to talk about the efforts underway to combat this. Bio 145: Diversity of Microorganisms has been an eye opener into these efforts. Before this class, I thought the only way we could develop new antibiotics was finding novel ones in the soil. It turns out this is one of the hundreds of different ideas being tried with thousands of scientists from all countries, backgrounds, and levels of education working on them. Each colored stripe in the drawing represents a different research effort, while the ones in the middle I have expanded to include some imagery from our own Tiny Earth project as well as a few of the research articles we have discussed in class.

The biggest stream I have drawn is our classroom project, with depictions of the Sac State Arboretum, my soil dilution plate, library plate, and a Safe ESKAPE plate, students at work in the lab, as well as various biochemical tests and techniques done in class. The purple stream above it is from the Smith et al paper, and the one above that represents the Ward et al paper. The stream below the Tiny Earth one depicts an iChip and soil levels from the Ling et al paper, and the stream below that represents the Tanaka et al paper. All of these streams converge into an IV antibiotic bag that is treating a woman in the hospital, a reminder that all of this work is for the purpose of saving lives.


I have titled my piece  “Humanity Always Finds a Way” to showcase my belief that humanity is more resilient than we sometimes give ourselves credit for. We have defeated pathogenic bacteria before with the original discovery of antibiotics, and we will defeat multidrug resistant bacteria now with a combination of discovering new chemicals and altering existing ones. We need to educate the public on these efforts not only to continue to support these researchers, but also to remind people that not everything is doom and gloom; there is hope.


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