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Curriculum

Honors Research Seminar: From Microbes to Molecules

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of Chemistry and Biology and departmental approval (Possible concurrent enrollment with Honors or Advanced Biology)

This course will be run in partnership with the Small World Initiative (SWI) and the Tiny Earth Network (TEN), two innovative programs that encourage students to pursue careers in science while addressing a worldwide health threat – the diminishing supply of effective antibiotics. This course centers around an introductory biochemistry course in which students conduct original hands-on field and laboratory research in the hunt for new antibiotics. Through a series of student-driven experiments, students will collect soil samples, isolate diverse bacteria, test their bacteria against clinically-relevant microorganisms, and characterize those showing inhibitory activity. This is particularly relevant since over two thirds of antibiotics originate from soil bacteria or fungi. SWI and TEN’s approach provide a unique platform to crowdsource medical breakthroughs by tapping into the intellectual power of many people concurrently addressing a global challenge and advances promising candidates into the drug development pipeline.