Hi everyone, my name is Michael Lauer, a microbiology and neuroscience major with a minor in chemistry. I am participating in the Brackenridge Fellowship this summer and am looking forward to be working with you all, even if the circumstances put the program online. One unique piece of information about myself is that I used to be a manager at a golf course pro shop, but now I do science!
Antimicrobial Resistance is on the Rise
My project is centered around the problem of antimicrobial resistance and presenting a novel way to combat the emerging threat to global health. Bacterial infections are commonly treated with a wide range of different antibiotics, but sometimes the bacteria become resistant through a variety of different mechanisms. They can find ways to evade our immune systems, pump the antibiotics out of the cell, or even synthesize proteins to degrade the antibiotics. The Hatfull Laboratory puts me in a unique position to study the natural predator of bacterial cells, called bacteriophages.
A bacteriophage, or “phage” for short, is a virus that only infects bacteria, but is harmless to humans. I will work with my research mentor, Dr. Krista Freeman (a postdoctoral fellow) from the Hatfull Laboratory. I have been working with Krista for a year on this project. The hope of the project is to take some of the genes that the phage codes for in its DNA that are toxic to the bacteria and learn about the 1) Three-dimensional structure of these protein gene products and 2) mechanisms of how these novel antimicrobials could function.
My professional goals are to work in the healthcare field, whether the job be a physician, PA, RN, or genetic counselor. I plan on perusing either a masters program or a doctorate. Although I do enjoy research, I enjoy personal interactions and problem solving an individual’s problems.
The Honors College Program
The Brackenridge Fellowship will better equip me with the tools to communicate with people who have a variety of backgrounds, whether they be patients, family, hospital staff, or colleagues. I think that having a constant pool of peer support and guidance from the honors college will help make every piece of information I produce more professional and understandable to a mass audience. The workshops that I have signed up for are areas of communication that I feel are important for me in the upcoming year, as many of them pertain to publication, applications for school, and interviews.