Tri Beta research grant for Ali ’17 a first for College

December 8, 2016

Saint Michael’s College biology major Muzna Ali ’17, recently was awarded a research grant from Beta Beta Beta, the Biology Honor Society. She received $767 for research materials related to her proposed project to identify antibiotic-producing bacteria from soil samples.

Biology chair Declan McCabe said Ali’s s successful application represented “the first ever National BBB Honor Society student grant in the history of the college.” He thanked Assistant Professor Dagan Loisel, the faculty research adviser on her project, for mentoring Ali through the application.

Ali is currently learning the techniques needed for the project in her General Microbiology course and she will begin her research project very soon, Loisel said. She was inducted into the Omicron Omicron Chapter at Saint Michael’s College on April 11, 2015.

According to the abstract on her grant application, “Antibiotics are one of the first lines of defense against bacterial infections and many antibiotics prescribed by physicians today were first isolated from soil. However, as antibiotic use increases, more and more bacteria are developing antibiotic resistance, causing a public health crisis and creating a challenge to discover new antibiotics. This study proposes to isolate and identify soil bacteria and test them for antibiotic properties. The objective is to identify a new antibiotic-producing bacterium from soil that has an inhibitory effect on bacteria that cause common infections.”

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