My name is Leo and I am a high school student from Marin County, CA. I love science, especially biology, and plan on majoring in a biology-related field at university and then going on to medical school. I am really happy to join such a great community of people that share my passion of science and am really looking forward to seeing all the interesting, creative ways people use their Foldscopes. I am also excited to put my Foldscope to good use for some of my projects and hope to share some of my work with you all.
Currently, I am working on a microbiology research project exploring Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia Coli, and Staphylococcus aureus biofilm formations and am trying to isolate bacteriophages that could destroy them. However, I am mainly focusing my efforts on finding a way to destroy P. aeruginosa biofilms as doing so could be used to help cure the fatal lung infections that cannot be cured with antibiotics as the biofilm state that the bacteria are in renders them very resistant to traditional antibiotic therapy. These lung infections are the main cause of death of Cystic Fibrosis patients so I hope to be successful in my research.
The last 2 photos below are of the petri dishes that I took out of the incubator this afternoon. They were treated with an agar nutrient gel and a P. aeruginosa (PSA) lawn was spread over the agar. Yesterday, I placed different combinations of PSA, E. coli, and Staph that grew for 24 hours two days ago in the quadrants over the PSA lawn. This afternoon, I checked these petri dishes and noticed that there were small zones of clearance at the edge of the triple culture quadrant in the 1st petri dish, while the other cultures were unable to stop the spread of the PSA lawn. The situation was similar in the 2nd petri dish.
Although this is my 1st set of competition assays, I was able to get some pretty interesting results. I think that there might be some bacteriophage release from the E. coli and Staph in the triple culture as a defense against the PSA’s spreading. Since the E. coli and Staph were exposed to PSA when they were in the triple culture, they had adapted to effectively defend against it so they were able to do the same when exposed to the PSA lawn.
I am going to retry this experiment and then try treating the bacteria with subtherapeutic doses of antibiotic or changing the bacteria ratios. Once I start getting consistent results, I am going to start testing for bacteriophages that target PSA and, if I find any, I will try to isolate them. I will also gather samples from these petri dishes and use my Foldscope to try and get a close look at the bacteria to just see what is happening in their world.
Anyway, I am just so happy to be a part of this community and cannot wait to see what everyone does with their Foldscopes.