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Amanda Myles

Bacteria are constantly evolving to become more resistant to antibiotic treatment. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a harmful facultative anaerobic bacterium, is a prime example of this phenomenon. P. aeruginosa can affect many life forms and is found in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis. The bacterium has evolved to become naturally resistant to many antibiotics, making its infections extremely difficult to treat. While its mechanisms of survival are unknown, P. aeruginosa can switch between aerobic and anaerobic respiration based on the availability of oxygen and other terminal electron acceptors. Under anaerobic conditions, P. aeruginosa relies on a catalyst called periplasmic nitrate reductase, or NAP, for energy generation. NAP seems to be integral to the function of P. aeruginosa in anaerobic growth conditions.

Amanda Myles, a senior in Biomedical Sciences, aims to characterize the role of NAP in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and its function in anaerobiosis. Her preliminary data suggest that NAP may be involved in the oxidation-reduction cycle of the bacterium. Amanda plans to attend medical school next year and says that her undergraduate research experience has caused her to consider a career as a research-active physician. She claims her research fellowship has been one of the most rewarding experiences of her college career. Her advice for prospective future research fellows is to “focus on research areas that interest you because doing research in an area that you find interesting or enjoy will make your experience so much better!”

Last modified: October 19, 2018