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  • Writer's pictureEnid Gonzalez-Orta

Inspiring Others to Join the Battle by Jenny L.



Jenny making frozen stocks of her isolates.

Did you know there are more than 2.8 million infections that occur annually in the U.S. caused by germs (bacteria, not viruses) having the ability to fight back against antibiotics that are developed to kill them? This is also a public health concern because, in 2019, at least 1.27 million people worldwide died for the same reason. This is antibiotic resistance.


Antibiotic resistance makes effective antibiotics ineffective. Thus, researchers are constantly on the hunt to discover antibiotics from soil bacteria. Sacramento State’s BIO 145 class is part of the Tiny Earth Project, where students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience to find bacteria producing antibiotics. Being a part of Tiny Earth is currently teaching me numerous lessons, ranging from hands-on laboratory techniques to developing soft skills, such as critical thinking and communication skills. At the beginning of the class, I grew 40 different strains of bacteria and tested them against different pathogens (infections-causing bacteria). One memorable moment was when I found three antibiotic producers against Enterococcus raffinosus (a specific bacterial strain), but the results were unclear. After diluting it to slow down the pathogen’s growth , I found seven producers.

 

 


Patch plate before dilution of Safe ESKAPE (L) and After Dilution of Safe ESKAPE (Right)


Although dilution was a simple task, this was an impactful experience because it was at this moment that I witnessed the power and flexibility of research. I could have stopped at three producers. However, I asked my Professor, Dr. G, who advised me to dilute the pathogen, which allowed me to conclude with definitive results and ultimately find more producers.


What seemed like a dead end had other routes leading to another discovery. So, I realized that a research protocol can be amended to find solutions, either big or small. Antibiotic resistance is a weapon that kills. However, if we work together, we can fight this deadly problem.

 

My personal experience with the Tiny Earth Project has inspired me to do so. I hope to take with me what I’ve learned about antibiotic resistance beyond BIO 145. With a goal of pursuing the healthcare field, one way to serve is to stay informed and practice medicine responsibly. Healthcare providers have the ability to prevent infections and reduce the use of antibiotics, prescribe antibiotics cautiously, and also educate patients about this matter. I aspire to do my part and together, let’s fight the battle of antibiotic resistance until we win.


References

CDC. (2022, October 5). About antimicrobial resistance. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/about.html

 

CDC. (2021, November 22). Healthcare providers: actions to combat resistance. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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