Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Felice Lin L&S Sciences

Investigation of a conjugative plasmid in Staphylococcus aureus

An alarming number of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections have begun to surface in communities due to a particular strain USA300. USA300 carries a single conjugative plasmid, pUSA03, which confers multiple antibiotic resistance. This is of great concern because the plasmid has been suggested to be able to acquire additional resistance genes in response to changing antibiotic uses. To study the evolution of pUSA03, I hope to characterize the pUSA03 plasmid found in USA300 isolates infecting patients by whole plasmid PCR scanning that could detect any structural changes in the plasmid DNA sequence. Any variations found from the prototypical pUSA03 plasmid may be indicative of plasmid evolution, and I plan to sequence those plasmids to determine the nature of the changes.

Message To Sponsor

This summer will serve as a learning experience for me as I understand how scientific research is conducted including the successes and failures that inevitably occur with experiments. I realize that I am responsible for any failures and may even have to come up with another plan if there is no progress. This idea that there may be no progress scares me. However, I am still excited to be able to pursue my own interests concerning infectious diseases. This summer provides me with a great opportunity to be able to step into the shoes of a professional researcher or scientist and will give me a clearer idea as to what I would like to do in the future.
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: George Sensabaugh, School of Public Health
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